Illinois legislators are still wrestling with the issue of average citizens recording police activities on the streets, particularly in regard to the upcoming NATO/G8 demonstrations in May in Chicago. Local law enforcement, however, will be able to keep their eyes and ears trained on anyone planning to protest, and will now be doing it from the friendly windy city skies.
A press release from a company called Vislink revealed that Chicago Fire and Police Department helicopters will be equipped with new airborne surveillance technology ahead of the summits in May:
The airborne units will transmit to four strategically located ground-based receiver sites providing city-wide coverage and the ability to simultaneously receive real-time images from two aircraft for viewing at the OEMC operations center. An additional three receive systems will be installed in the city’s mobile command vehicles to facilitate field operations.
Already, Chicago is taking on massive preparations to lock the city down during the demonstrations. A private security firm is providing training to security forces, Mayor Rahm Emanuel changed various ordinances making it more difficult to organize a demonstration, the Chicago Police now have the power to deputize and enlist any other available security forces, and sharpshooters and other militarized types of law enforcement will be on hand.
City officials might say everyone will be able to exercise their First Amendment rights, but when people choose to do so, it will be under a microscope – one held by law enforcement and attached to a “less than lethal weapon.”