© 2023 WYPR
20th Anniversary Background
WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore WYPF 88.1 FM Frederick WYPO 106.9 FM Ocean City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Surveillance plane was not a secret, Baltimore police say


The chief spokesman for Baltimore police insists that a trial program in which a manned plane with cameras flies over the city and feeds information to law enforcement was not a secret.

T.J. Smith told reporters at a news conference Wednesday that the program, first reported Tuesday by Bloomberg Businessweek, was another potential tool in the department's crime-fighting arsenal.

Smith said the program is a test between the department and Persistent Surveillance Systems, a company that wants to sell the service to Baltimore.

The ACLU of Maryland expressed outrage at the program, saying in a statement it's "a privacy nightmare come to life."

Smith, pressed by reporters to explain why the privately funded program was unknown until the Bloomberg report, compared the plane to Baltimore's hundreds of CitiWatch cameras.  

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.