Miami Beach PD circumvents ban on drone surveillance with a blimp

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Can’t use a drone? What about a blimp?

Miami Beach Police Department circumvented a 2015 ban on police drone surveillance when it monitored a crowded Orange Bowl celebration event last month using a small, helium-filled blimp, called a “tethered aerostat.”

Essentially a camera-equipped balloon at the end of a leash, the aerostat was purchased by MBPD this winter to assist in monitoring the safety of large crowd events in Miami Beach and did so when it surveilled the 15,000 attendees at the Capital One Beach Bash on Dec. 28.

In a letter sent to the city’s commission, City Manager Jimmy Morales admitted that MBPD acquired the tethered aerostat as a

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