Grady Judd's spy plane removed from consent agenda. Now delay the vote and provide details.
The sheriff must publicly explain what his personal spy satellite can see; and who has access to the feed at all times.
Would you trust me with my own personal, Polk County-focused, military grade spy satellite, with which I can track your license plate and movements and actions in real time, with no oversight and no written rules or guidelines of use?
Who would you trust less? Me or Sheriff Grady Judd, who loves a prurient press conference the way most people love a spouse?
Would you trust anyone — much less a bunch of young men — with the capability to snoop silently from above on any intimate moment on your property with detailed imagery or look into your bedroom through a roof with thermal technology? Do you trust political allies of the Zieglers with this kind of intrusive, personal space invading capability?
These are questions I would like to ask the Polk County Commission on Tuesday about the $3-$5 million spy plane Grady Judd wants the taxpayers to buy him so he can spy on them without any apparent oversight or explanation. Unfortunately, work commitments I cannot avoid will prevent me from attending.
I could attend if the vote is delayed to the next meeting, as it should be.
Delay the vote. Make Grady explain the plane’s capabilities and oversight to the public, in public.
I don’t know that the Kodiak 100 “Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance” platform, which can “loiter” for hours at a time above your house undetected, can do all of what I theorized above.
But I don’t know that it can’t.
And I do know that Grady Judd is an aggressive, camera-lusting politician with dictator instincts before he’s a law enforcement officer; that he campaigns in uniform; and that he insults and disparages the citizens he is supposed to protect if they are not politically correct in his view; and that he does not believe he ever has to explain himself to the public as long as he can try to entertain them with tired, lurid provocation. For backup, see here and here. There are many other places all of this is documented.
That’s why it’s important and good that GOP County Commissioner Bill Braswell says he has asked to remove the spy plane from the County Commission’s consent agenda for its Tuesday meeting. Braswell told me this Saturday evening. He said he actually asked to removed it Friday, after the County Commission briefly touched on it an “agenda study” meeting without the sheriff present. Here’s the link to the meeting video. The discussion starts at 55:56.
Questions the sheriff must answer personally
Removing the spy plane from the consent agenda forces elected county commissioners to consider it as its own agenda item. When buried in consent, it’s approved without discussion along with many other “minor” or perfunctory items.
The fact that Grady and whoever put the commission agenda together buried this expensive spy plane on a list of perfunctory, no-need-to-discuss items shows how little confidence they have in their ability to justify it it to the public who must pay for it — and suffer the intrusion on its constitutional rights to privacy.
Hiding this on consent protects the spy plane and sheriff from public scrutiny by giving the public no real notice that this is happening. It is hard to rearrange one’s schedule to miss work on a 48-hour whim.
These are the questions I would ask tomorrow at the commission meeting if I could attend:
Why was the spy plane put on the consent agenda?
When the spy plane operates, what is the radius that its cameras performing passive surveillance can capture?
Within that radius, how much detail can it see when a user zooms in?
For a specific, hypothetical example, can this spy plane and its system see and catalogue the license plates and vehicles of anyone parked at a clinic that terminates pregancies? For that matter, can it see and flag the license plates at Marilyn Paul’s forced birth clinic so Grady can verify the women who go there actually give birth later?
Who has access to video from this ISR feed in real time. Can Grady Judd access the feed from a desktop computer in his office? Who is excluded from the feed? Does the sheriff’s office have written internal rules for use? If so, they should be made public immediately.
What happens to the feed that is shot? Is it stored? What are the storage costs? Again, who has access?
How does the sheriff reconcile his opposition to “privacy” and cost concerns with police body cameras to a spy plane with far greater intrusive capability than body cameras?
I think every citizen should want their elected sheriff to look them in the eye and answer those questions.
We’ll see if he does.