The Ogden Police Department wants to fly an unmanned surveillance blimp at a height of just 400 feet over high crime areas of the city to watch for “suspicious activity,” but an initial request for approval was rejected by the FAA on the basis that the program would be a safety risk.
Recently released FAA documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation illustrate how law enforcement bodies across the country are rushing to deploy drones and surveillance blimps with scant regard for the fourth amendment or privacy rights.
In a letter sent to the FAA by Jon J. Greiner, the Ogden Police Chief attempted to assure the federal agency that the UAS surveillance blimp the police department planned to use was air worthy and safe.
In the letter, Greiner describes the blimp as a a “nocturnal surveillance airship which will be used for law enforcement surveillance of high crime areas of Ogden City.”
From a height of just 400 feet in the sky, the dirigible would use its camera system to spot “suspicious activity” on city streets and send the footage back to police headquarters.
“The Pilot in Command would also be able to manually operate the UAS so that it could remain on scene waiting for an officer’s arrival,” states the letter.
Read More: Police Department Wants Blimp To Spy On “Suspicious Activity”