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Compton’s Secret Aerial Surveillance Tests Raise Ire

Residents in the city of Compton are outraged that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department tested aerial surveillance in 2012 without their knowledge.

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COMPTON, Calif. — Residents here are outraged that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department temporarily tested aerial surveillance two years ago without their knowledge.

In 2012, officials secretly sent a civilian aircraft over the city of Compton to test mass-surveillance technology for nine days. Authorities wanted to determine if the technology could help locate crimes in progress and identify suspects, KABC reports.

Following the tests, the sheriff’s department determined that the technology was not capable of enhancing crime-fighting efforts and opted not to use it.

Compton residents are upset that they were not aware that the technology was being tested. However, representatives from the sheriff’s department said they did not inform residents of the tests because Compton already has a city-wide surveillance system.

The American Civil Liberties Union said no law enforcement agency has the right to use any surveillance technology without the public’s knowledge.

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