Behind the technology: Baltimore's aerial surveillance program

BALTIMORE (WBFF) -- When planes owned by Persistent Surveillance Systems (PSS) began to fly over Baltimore, police weren't publicly discussing the program.

Once the program did become public there were more questions than answers, especially on the privacy front. In a rare move, the owner of PSS Ross McNutt allowed cameras inside his hangar and company to see firsthand the application of his technology.

"It's like opening a murder mystery in the middle and you have blank pagers before and after,” McNutt says. “Your job is to figure what should be there what happened."

McNutt shows us a crime committed in a city with a crime problem as serious as the one Baltimore faces. A step by step process McNutt openly discusses.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis says the technology could benefit Baltimore -- if the City can afford it.

McNutt says his surveillance can cut crime by as much as 30% in a year. An after-action report on Baltimore's program was inconclusive.

"I don't think the Police Foundation can talk about numbers that don't yet exist but probably will two to three years from now and like anything else that is new you take a little bit of a leap of faith,” Davis says. “You test it and that's just what we did we tested it."