Baltimore Magazine Highlights Half-Way Point of City’s Surveillance Plane Pilot Program

camera-3376228_1920 - pixabay - 3.25.20After three months, the controversial Baltimore City Police Department Aerial Investigation Research Pilot Program has two planes in the sky (and a third on the way) that have logged over 700 hours of surveillance footage aiding in the arrest of one individual. 

As previously reported on Conduit Street, in April the Baltimore City Board of Estimates approved a Baltimore City Police Department contract for a six-month pilot of a surveillance plane that would take pictures of the city to help detectives investigate past murders, shootings, and armed robberies.

Following the approval, the ACLU had filed an injunction in federal court to stop the program arguing that it violated the privacy of residents under the first and fourth amendments. A federal judge ruled against the ACLU in a lawsuit and the program continued to move forward.

Now Baltimore Magazine has taken a deep-dive look at the surveillance plane pilot program and what has been accomplished three months since the planes have been flying:

How are things going at the halfway mark? As of July 27, according to the police department, 72 aerial imagery analysis, or “evidentiary packets,” have been forwarded from PSS, at the request of the BPD, to police investigators. According to BPD, one homicide arrest to date has been made at least partly based on aerial surveillance. In a second shooting case, a vehicle and person of interest have been identified with the assistance of aerial surveillance. Those investigations are ongoing. Meanwhile, homicides in Baltimore continue unabated despite the planes and a raging pandemic that is keeping many people indoors.

For more information:

Prying Eyes (Baltimore Magazine)

Related coverage from Conduit Street:

City Moves Forward With Surveillance Plane Pilot Program

Federal Judge Sides with City, Rejects ACLU Lawsuit to Stop Surveillance Plane