Civil liberties groups in Baltimore voiced their opposition to a pilot program revealed by the police department Friday that would involve three surveillance planes flying over the city in an effort to stem violent crime.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland and the Union for Justice, Security and Jobs issued a joint statement that stated the program is a “fateful step” that will “impact the privacy rights of Black and Brown citizens for generations to come.”
The statement stated the planes would put every Baltimore homeowner under permanent surveillance.
City lawyer Andre Davis, left, listens as Baltimore Authorities Commissioner Michael Harrison, right, reveals assistance for a pilot program that uses security planes over the city to fight criminal activity on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, in Baltimore. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun through AP).
Baltimore Cops Commissioner Michael Harrison, who was a previous doubter of the program, stated the test (which might last approximately six months) will be “yet another tool” to eliminate the increasing violence in the city.
The aircrafts will gather images throughout high criminal activity hours, with innovation developed by Ohio-based Relentless Monitoring Systems, that will be reviewed by detectives for particular crimes.
Harrison added that authorities will not have access to live feeds.
” We will be the very first American city to use this technology in an attempt to solve and discourage violent crime,” Harrison stated in a news conference Friday.
The pilot program set to introduce in May 2020 has actually been controversial because it was secretively attempted 3 years ago by a different cops commissioner.
Leading officials were uninformed of the program’s usage in 2016 up until it was reported by Bloomberg Businessweek. More than 300 hours of images were recorded by the cameras. The images were mostly utilized to see criminals showing up to and leaving crime scenes.
” Throughout the short test in 2016, in the equivalent of 2 weeks of flying, we viewed 5 murders and 18 shootings and provided that details to detectives. We look forward to supporting individuals of Baltimore in their efforts to minimize significant crime and we anticipate doing so in a really open and transparent way,” the business’s president said.
Harrison revealed there will be a series of conferences to inform the public about the test and how it will benefit the city. The cost of the program will be covered by philanthropic funds, not tax dollars.
The Associated Press added to this report.