Sunday, September 17, 2006

Wakarusa - Testing Ground for Surveillance Tech

This article in Government Security News highlights the evolution of police surveillance, particularly as it was used this summer at the Wakarusa Festival in Lawrence, Kansas.

A new high-tech wireless system utilizing a half dozen covert cameras scanned the crowds at the fest looking for evidence of crime. Instead of the old school undercover cop cruising the site, hidden cameras operated from a state of the art control center caught drug dealers in the act. The Festival was attended by members of the local police and sherrif's departments, state police, the FBI and the DEA.

Was it worth it? 50,000 fans were monitored four days and nights by advanced electronics and representatives of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies yielded 140 drug arrests. No word on the outcomes of trials, however

". . . there is no doubt about the fate of funds confiscated from
drug dealers at Wakarusa. Under prevailing law and custom, 75
percent of all such monies are turned over to the police agencies
responsible for the drug arrests that generated them."

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