National drone watchdogs have been having trouble getting details about San Diego County’s plans, if any, for robotic aerial intelligence gathering. But county documents confirm that Sheriff Bill Gore is eager to proceed with at least one variety of high-tech spy operation. According to a November 7 request for proposal posted online by the county’s purchasing office, the sheriff is in the market for “a surveillance platform upgrade package for a Ford F250 truck.” Specifically, the chief lawman wants a “Crime Point IP Surveillance Technology Upgrade OR EQUAL.”
The website of Camarillo-based Crime Point says that the firm “helps law enforcement agencies gather critical intelligence and investigate crimes more safely, cost-efficiently and successfully with cutting edge, turn-key surveillance vehicles, video systems and customizable components — all specifically engineered for the rigorous and unpredictable nature of police surveillance.” Adds the sales pitch, “Keep ahead of your suspects with innovative, outside-the-box designs, harnessing the latest network video technologies.” But the company provides no other details than that, and requires a password for further access, saying “Due to its sensitive nature, the product content on this website is restricted to law enforcement professionals and government agencies only.”
The work description contained in San Diego’s request offers a few more hints. Part of the job calls for relocation of “existing pinhole cameras behind two existing acrylic windows for concealment,” as well as upgrading an “existing covert retractable periscope from analog to digital IP network monitoring and control.” Then there’s the installation of a “Flex Jr. computer as backup video recorder for primary surveillance cameras, operable as standalone mobile network video recorder when removed from vehicle… The surveillance vehicle will still function independently but not have the remote access.” No cost is mentioned.