The city of Lancaster plans to launch a new aerial surveillance system to monitor neighborhoods for crime.
The technology, called the Law Enforcement Aerial Platform System, will be attached to a piloted single-engine Cessna.
It's basically a radar system that will give deputies a bird's-eye view of what's happening on the ground.
The tool is similar to drones that are used by the military to survey
war zones, with the difference that those are remote-controlled rather
than attached to a plane.
Authorities say the technology will prove invaluable for the city
because it's so large and spread out, and deputies can't be everywhere
It could also help during natural disasters like fires or earthquakes by providing an aerial view of the situation.
Opponents have expressed concerns about government snooping, but city
leaders insist that the surveillance will only be used to fight crime.
The Sheriff's Department plans to deploy LEAPS for 10 hours a day, at a coast of about $300 an hour.
That adds up to about $90,000 per month and more than $1 million per year -- a hefty price tag in the cash-strapped city.
But city officials say that it's worth the investment to combat a recent spike in crime.
In: Regional News
Tags: Lancaster, CA to launch aerial radar surveillance over neighborhoods
Location: Lancaster, California, United States (load item map)
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