Since January, police have been testing an aerial surveillance system adapted from the surge in Iraq. And they neglected to tell the public. By Monte Reel, August 23, 2016 – “The sky over the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on June 23 was the color of a dull nickel, and a broad deck of lowering clouds threatened rain. A couple dozen people with signs—“Justice 4 Freddie Gray” and “The whole damn system is guilty as hell”—lingered by the corner of the courthouse, watching the network TV crews rehearse their standups. Sheriff’s officers in bulletproof vests clustered around the building’s doors, gripping clubs with both hands…Since the beginning of the year, the Baltimore Police Department had been using [a] plane to investigate all sorts of crimes, from property thefts to shootings. The Cessna sometimes flew above the city for as many as 10 hours a day, and the public had no idea it was there. A company called Persistent Surveillance Systems, based in Dayton, Ohio, provided the service to the police, and the funding came from a private donor. No public disclosure of the program had ever been made…”
- See also Baltimore Police Secretly Running Aerial Mass-Surveillance Eye in the Sky By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy, Technology Project; and via WSJ.com – Baltimore Police Defend Use of Small Airplane to Track, Fight Crime High-flying cameras, funded by unnamed donor, help solve crimes but also draws criticism.