A Pending Relaunch of Surveillance Plane over Baltimore
BALTIMORE (WBFF) - As Baltimore suffers its deadliest month of violence this year, the city is set to look back at a crime-fighting tool grounded for two years.
The city council will have a hearing on the privately-owned surveillance plane that secretly photographed Baltimore for eight months with police cooperation.
The Cessna flew hundreds of hours, gathering photographic evidence of thefts, shootings and murders.
Persistent Surveillance Systems (PSS) is the private company operating the plane. Its owner, Ross McNutt, says the plane can reduce crime by double digits, as well as prevent it from happening.
“Our claims are pretty extraordinary,” McNutt said in an interview with FOX45 earlier this year.
Private funds have been set up to pay for one year’s worth of flights by PSS.
McNutt says there will be an evaluation of the program at that point to see if it would proceed with more private donations, or public funds. However, McNutt says the plane has already shown itself to be successful.
“Within the first few days, we had seen shootings and other things, and provided so much information, it was clear that it worked,” McNutt said.
Brandon Scott leads the Public Safety Committee for the city council. He is skeptical about the plane’s crime fighting abilities. During its flight time in 2016, the plane gathered evidence in five homicide cases.
“We had like a hundred homicides, right?” Scott said.
Despite Scott’s skepticism, he responded to the council president’s request for a hearing and scheduled one for the surveillance plane on Oct. 16.