Surveillance company offers technology to hunt freeway shooter


The president of a company that has flown surveillance planes over some of the most dangerous parts of the world is offering to use his technology to help catch the freeway shooter.

Persistent Surveillance Systems uses ordinary planes equipped with the equivalent of 600 high-definition cameras. The photos captured by those camera allow investigators to, in a sense, go back in time to the scene of a crime and then follow the suspects to their hideouts.

"We'll see, in a lot of cities, 10 to 15 crimes in a day, and we'll go in and investigate those," Dr. Ross T. McNutt, the owner and chief technical officer of Persistent Surveillance Systems, said.

McNutt helped develop the system for the U.S. Air Force for use over Fallujah, Iraq. The military used the planes and cameras to track down insurgents who were planting roadside bombs.

By flying overhead full-time and snapping ultra-high-definition photos every second, the system allowed investigators to zoom in and rewind to the place and and time of a roadside bomb explosion. They could then rewind some more to spot the insurgents planting the bombs. Investigators were then able to fast forward and follow the insurgents to their hideouts.

The same tactics allowed McNutt to help Mexican authorities take down a drug gang that was responsible for 1,500 murders in Juarez, Mexico.

He believes his system would be a valuable asset in the hunt for the freeway shooter.

"This would actually be a pretty easy task for us to do, to watch a large section of that road," he said. "And if anything were to occur, we would really be able to provide a lot of useful information."

When asked whether the Arizona Department of Public Safety would consider contacting Persistent Surveillance Systems, a spokesman told CBS 5 Investigates the agency will not discuss tactics or technology used in the case.

[SPECIAL SECTION: AZ Freeway Shootings]

Copyright 2015 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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