CBS Baltimore: The Baltimore Police Department held a press conference on the matter Wednesday afternoon, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake put out a statement around the same time.
“I was recently made aware of the Persistent Surveillance Systems Inc. work with our city,” Rawlings-Blake wrote.
“The pilot program, funded by an anonymous donor, is cutting edge technology aimed at making Baltimore safer. My top priority, which I have continuously communicated to Commissioner Davis, has been to keep our city safe. His team sought opportunities to find new technology that works hand in hand with our robust Citiwatch program. This technology is about public safety. This isn’t surveilling or tracking anyone. It’s about catching those who choose to do harm to citizens in our city.”
The program is “not an unmanned drone or a secret surveillance program,” Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith began the Wednesday press conference by saying.
“Years ago, when we embarked on our CitiWatch program, there were similar anxieties and that’s understandable,” Smith said. “We expect this technology to be used for other public safety concerns, like Silver Alerts, Amber Alerts, floods, sinkholes, fires, terrorist attacks, and more. It adheres to our CCTV policies. We currently know that there are existing technologies that are out there in the world and in place, like red light cameras, speed cameras, license plate readers, other CCTV and facial recognition. All of those programs received the same level of scrutiny. This is a 21st century technology that other large cities across the country are also testing.”
Smith ended his initial remarks by saying “the only people that should be concerned in the city of Baltimore are criminals.” (Video at the link)