DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - Dayton city commissioners heard a plan Wednesday that would allow police to perform airborne surveillance on parts of the city in an effort to solve crimes.
Commissioners got a look at how the technology was used end a crime spree.
Dayton police were able to follow the person who robbed three different businesses one day last summer and make an arrest using a plane armed with cameras.
Without the eye in the sky, the robber may have gotten away with it.
After testing the technology over the summer, the Dayton Police Department is now asking city commissioners to approve another 120 hours of airborne surveillance by the Persistent Surveillance Services to be used this summer.
At $1,000 an hour, it's not cheap, so Police Chief Richard Biehl says he only wants to use the plane for violent crimes, particularly homicides, nearly half of which go unsolved in the city.
"If this technology helps us get closer to justice and help bring some closure to the survivors of those victims I think that's what we'll be doing with it," Biehl says.
But some think the 2013 technology is too much "1984", the novel about government surveillance run amok.
"This is another step for some people that are feeling too much government intrusion and feeling paranoid," says Dr. Michael Norris, an Assistant Director of Criminal Justice Studies at Wright State.
But Chief Biehl says the airborne surveillance has been approved by the Supreme Court and that it won't be as intrusive as some fear.
"This is clearly a law enforcement, crime prevention public-safety tool," Biehl says.
2 NEWS asked people downtown what they think about being watched from the air.
"I think it's a good idea, especially in the high crime areas," says Bob Spofford.
Adds Jean Fudge, "It just seems silly and maybe a waste of time."
At the end of the day, the effectiveness of the surveillance is what Dr. Norris questions.
Chief Biehl says how well it works will determine when and how it's used.
"This is not something you put up in the air and hope you catch something of importance," Biehl says.
If commissioners want to go forward with the surveillance plan, it could be on the agenda at the Feb. 13th meeting.
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