City’s Board of Estimates Delays Approval of Surveillance Plane

camera-3376228_1920 - pixabay - 3.25.20The Baltimore City Board of Estimates met via video meeting Wednesday and voted to delay a contract that would have approved the use of a surveillance plan by the Baltimore Police Department (BPD).

From The Baltimore Business Journal:

Scott said the pilot surveillance program was deferred because the spending board’s members felt the program requires public discussion, as well as conversation within the City Council, before it can be approved. The item was also protested by the ACLU of Maryland, which has spoken out against the aerial surveillance plan.

The $2.2 million Aerial Investigation Research (AIR) pilot program, funded by Texas philanthropists Laura and John Arnold, will allow a private company to fly planes recording images that can be used to help Baltimore police detectives investigate past murders, shootings and armed robberies.

Despite the deferral, the article states a BPD spokesperson has confirmed that they still plan to launch the surveillance program as a pilot in April as originally planned. The contract for the pilot program is for a period of one year. The Department has held one in person, and two virtual information sessions for the public to learn about it.

For more information:

Baltimore delays approval of ‘spy plane’ program at virtual city spending meeting (The Baltimore Business Journal)