DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - Not in my backyard. That was the consensus at a public meeting Tuesday night at Dayton's City Hall to discuss the use of aerial surveillance by the city. The public had a lot of concerns and city leaders listened.
The proposed plan says it would put cameras on small, piloted planes used only for things like: major crimes and disturbances, natural disasters, SWAT call outs, and illegal dumping. However, even in this advanced digital age we live in, it appears to be a step too far for those who spoke out.
"I think it's an opportunity for us to be at the forefront of respecting civil rights and civil liberties, and to have Dayton be a shining example of that," said one woman talking about why the city should not go ahead with the plan.
"If we have decreased crime why do we need this surveillance anyways?" questioned another man. "Get involved in the community. Let's show everybody how to do it that way."
"When I leave my house and I go down to the mall for Macy's I know cameras are on me and follow me everywhere because they think I'm going to steal, but I'm there because I chose to be there. I don't have to be there, but I have to be in my home and my community," said another woman citing privacy fears.
Concerns were raised about personal privacy and whether the policies and laws are in place to prevent operators from doing whatever they want with aerial surveillance. Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said he's confident airborne security would be an asset and not a threat.
"I think I made that very clear that this technology is deployed in terms of crimes reported from citizens either previously or in progress or in critical tactical situations or natural disasters."
The city's proposed contract with Persistent Surveillance Systems would spend $120,000 for 120 hours of surveillance. The chief said he hopes to have it up and running by summer, but first the city said it will review the public comments. No vote on the proposal was taken Tuesday night.
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Snowfall reports vary across the Miami Valley as the storm continues to produce heavy snow, making it hard for drivers to see in some cases.
The National Weather Service canceled the Winter Storm Warning and Winter Weather Advisory just after 9:30 pm.