Two days ago, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan sent a letter to the Mayor of Baltimore and the Baltimore Police Department agreeing to send funds to help the city fight crime.
Which seems like a laudable thing to do right? But there is a darker side to this story.
The Baltimore Sun revealed that police will use some of this money to monitor the movements of people and vehicles.
"Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday pledged $21 million to help fight crime in Baltimore and endorsed the use of a controversial surveillance plane to fly over the city recording the movements of people and vehicles below."
In the letter, Hogan said, "We understand that this has been offered at no cost to Baltimore for up to three years," Hogan wrote. "We urge you to implement this program immediately."
But in the above video, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison claimed police have a five-year "transformational plan" to monitor the public. (approx: 2:00)
So it is unclear who is telling the truth. Is it a three-year or five-year plan to use planes to monitor everyone? Or is it really a permanent plan to use aerial surveillance planes, helicopters and drones to monitor the public?
Police claim monitoring the public makes them happier
In what can only be described as one of the most audacious fallacies to come out of post-9/11 are law enforcement claims that spying on everyone makes people happier.
The Governor's letter revealed how police are using the "Baltimore Community Support Program" or the Eye in the Sky to "help make the community a safer and happier place to live, work, and play."
If you are thinking haven't I hear this story before? You would be correct.
Last year I reported officials in Riverhead, New York also claimed that police drones and cameras would "uplift downtown."
And that is exactly what is happening in Baltimore.
The police department's justification or "vision" for monitoring people and vehicles is that it will make them happier.
"Our vision is a safer, happier, and more enjoyable Baltimore. We hope to contribute to a safe environment and a respectful community where people feel safe to live, work and play."
I thought Hollywood had cornered the market on horror stories, except this is not Hollywood, it is real-life.
What makes this story even more disturbing is the Persistent Surveillance Solutions (PSS) offer to pay for administration and oversight of the program.
Last year, the Baltimore Police Department began using an innocuously-named "Community Support Program" run by PSS to monitor the public from high altitudes.
But just last month, Steve McNutt the owner of PSS was still working hard to convince officials to use free surveillance planes to monitor the public.
“The current mayor has said if the police commissioner wants it, he should be allowed to have it,” McNutt told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. “We hope that when the commissioner sees what we do, and how effective we are, that he would be very supportive of it.”
Who could say no to a free surveillance plane program? Certainly not the Governor and Mayor who saw what PSS could do and liked it.
Recent new stories and videos reveal that the police commissioner appears to have changed his mind and will use surveillance planes to monitor people and vehicles.
The Governor's letter revealed on more disturbing tidbit of information,
"The Maryland State Police Aviation Command, Homeland Security, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and the Governor's Office of Crime Patrol and Prevention (GOCCP) will work together with the Baltimore Police Department to build and improve upon what we are already doing."
In other words, DHS and law enforcement will work together perfecting how best to monitor people and vehicles.
One cannot help but notice how eerily similar the GOCCP is to the CCCP, the Russian abbreviation for the Union of Soviet Social Republics.
It is getting harder and harder for even the most cynical person to deny that corporations and Big Brother are working together to improve upon ways to monitor everything we do.