Dayton surveillance plan delayed

After a 45-minute presentation on the proposed use of high-tech airplane surveillance in the city, Dayton City Commissioners decided Wednesday to postpone any decision until after public discussions can be held on the topic.

Commissioners Joey Williams and Matt Joseph said multiple residents had contacted them with questions about the proposed contract with Persistent Surveillance Systems. Williams said the city’s Community-Police Council should meet about the issue, and Commissioner Nan Whaley said any civil liberty complaints about the cameras should be taken seriously.

Williams said the contract is not likely to be voted on for several weeks. Police hope to use the technology this summer.

At Wednesday’s work session, Police Chief Richard Biehl showed actual photos taken from a 2012 test run of the technology, which is effective only during daylight hours. The images come from a piloted aircraft, equipped with high-tech cameras, flying close to 10,000 feet above the city.

PSS President Ross McNutt said technicians watching the video would not be able to make out a person’s face or a car’s license plate, and the very blurry images shown Wednesday confirmed that. But Biehl explained how the cameras did help solve a crime during last year’s test. Police reviewed video from a burglary site and tracked the suspect vehicle to its eventual destination, where police made an arrest.

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Most read

  1. 1 Winter Storm Watch issued for weekend storm | Dayton Weather
  2. 2 In escalating shutdown fight, Trump cancels plane for Pelosi overseas trip | Jamie Dupree - DDN
  3. 3 Warren County crime: Sex offender released from jail

At Wednesday’s commission meeting, Dayton resident Maria Holt questioned the $1,000-per-hour cost, saying the city should focus on youth and poverty programs instead, to get at the root causes of crime.

Mayor Gary Leitzell said he knows some people are worried about possible invasion of privacy, but he thinks public information sessions — which have not yet been scheduled — will solve some of those problems.

“It’s basically educating the public about what this technology will actually do and what it can’t do,” he said. “I think the public has a right to know, so they feel comfortable with our choice of using technology to help our police department solve crime and reduce crime.”

More from Daytondailynews