Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Miami Police Drones Can See Inside Homes
SOC Editor: The same airborne surveillance technology used in the mideast resource wars are being brought home and used domestically against citizens.
Miami-Dade’s newest crime fighting tool is a literal ‘eye in the sky’.
The Micro Air Vehicle, or MAV for short, is a small radio controlled drone aircraft equipped with a portable camera system. Miami-Dade Sgt. Andrew Cohen said drone will be used to gather real time information in situations which may be too dangerous for officers.
“If an SRT (Special Response Team) has to go into an area they don’t know what’s there, we don’t know what is in the backyard,” said Cohen, “They want to know if there are dogs in the backyard, if there is a shed, things that could be a threat to us.”
The MAV is used by the military to scan dangerous areas before troops are sent in. Miami-Dade police used a $50,000 grant to buy one, but not everyone is happy with the purchase.
“What happens when they fly over backyards and they see something without a warrant that they want to take against,” said ACLU Executive Director Howard Simon.
Police admit the MAV, if flown low enough, has the ability to look into people’s home, but that is not its intended purpose.
“If this thing is deployed, it’s only going to be used in situations where we already have an ongoing police scene,” said Cohen. “They are going to know we are there because we will have tactical teams, SRT teams, we’re going to have a perimeter, it’s going to be secure.”
Meanwhile the police department is awaiting approval from the FAA before they can use the MAV. They have submitted the application, but the approval process can take up to six months.
Posted by Jae F. Muzzin at 9:34 PM