Warrantless Aerial Surveillance in Dayton


Updated 04.18.13: Because of the efforts of community activists, this proposal was withdrawn.

04.02.13 The Dayton City Commission is considering a request from the Dayton Police Department to work with a local company to provide aerial surveillance. If approved, the city will pay $120,000 to Persistent Surveillance Systems (PSS) for 120 hours of airborne surveillance this summer.

According to PSS, these planes can monitor an area four times as large as Dayton’s downtown. The rapid-fire cameras used on the plane make the captured data more like film than still photos. Police can zoom in on any part of the image, in real time. This means that they could track your car down the street or watch you swimming in your backyard.

The police department’s proposed guidelines do not require a warrant prior to surveillance; lack clear retention and sharing policies; and fail to provide for independent oversight.

The ACLU of Ohio has been working with a group of local activists to push for new guidelines which address these civil liberties concerns. The program is on the agenda for a special meeting before Dayton’s City Commission on Tuesday, April 9, 2013.

To download a brief overview of domestic aerial surveillance in Dayton, click here.

Read a post on warrantless aerial surveillance in Dayton at the ACLU Blog of Rights.