Aerial surveillance added to police toolkit in Calif. town

Law enforcement officials in Lancaster, Calif., will be getting a bird's eye view of the city thanks to a proposal for aerial surveillance the City Council approved Nov. 8, Government Technology reports.

The council OK'd a proposal for Lancaster's sheriff's department to use the Law Enforcement Aerial Platform System, which uses visible and infrared imaging, as a tool for police officers. LEAPS will use video technology that is mounted to a small plane and can track suspects or targets from between 1,000 and 3,000 feet above the ground.

Footage captured by LEAPS will be recorded and then encrypted before being transmitted directly to the Sheriff's Station, according to Government Technology. Lancaster officials said neither the plane's pilot nor the city would see the footage and that it would not be stored in the aircraft.

Lancaster city officials said the aerial system would be able to detect the color of a person's clothing from that height but added that such fine details as people's faces and vehicles' license plate numbers would not be visible.

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