A Cessna plane fitted with sophisticated video surveillance technology will fly loops around the city and send footage directly back to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department dispatch center. Officials plan to add a second aircraft to the arsenal at a later date.
“About a few hours into its maiden flight Friday, the plane’s video feed captured its first incident: a motorcycle rider who had crashed at 20th Street East and Avenue K. Using the video, deputies in the dispatch were able to help paramedics assess the situation before they got to the scene. Later, the department got word that a group fight was brewing at Eastside High School. The plane moved into position and conducted surveillance above the campus. No fight occurred,” reports the L.A. Times.
According to a report by ABC 7, the camera can zoom in to a person walking down the street from three miles away. The system also has a 5 second response time, meaning it can swiftly pinpoint a car and track its movements indefinitely.
Despite claims that the surveillance system will only target crimes in progress, officials admit that the video footage will be stored for two years and can be reviewed in case a crime or suspect was “unwittingly” captured on camera.