Baltimore aerial surveillance agreement: $3.7 million price tag, privacy protections, evaluation plan

Private donors are expected to put up nearly $3.7 million to fund a controversial plan to fly three private surveillance planes over Baltimore, according to a document obtained by The Baltimore Sun.

The previously undisclosed agreement between the Baltimore Police Department and Ohio-based Persistent Surveillance Systems details how the pilot aerial surveillance program will be funded, what privacy protections will be instituted and how it will be evaluated.

Police previously declined to provide a copy of the contract until it was approved by the city’s spending board — a vote initially scheduled for Wednesday. But citing limits on public debate due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Board of Estimates delayed its decision by a week.