Police Used High-Tech Surveillance at Festival

Police Used High-Tech Surveillance at Festival
Posted by CN Staff on September 15, 2006 at 18:18:18 PT
By Eric Weslander 
Source: Lawrence Journal-World
Kansas -- Hidden, high-dollar equipment helped police crack down on drug dealing at this year’s Wakarusa Festival.A new article in a trade journal, Government Security News, describes the roughly $250,000 worth of hidden-camera, night-vision and thermal-imaging equipment used by police throughout the festival grounds. The equipment was courtesy of a California company that agreed to give a free demonstration of its wares for marketing purposes.
The company estimated that they were able to cover 85 percent of the festival grounds with about a half dozen hidden cameras. One camera, for example, was mounted atop a light tower and used on “Shakedown Street,” a bustling area viewed as a problem spot for drug dealing.“It’s hopefully a win-win for everybody except the crooks,” said Mike McRory, vice president of business development for NS Microwave Inc., of Spring Valley, Calif., which markets security and surveillance equipment and is owned by the defense contractor Allied Defense Group.The company builds “covert” cameras disguised as everything from electrical boxes to birdhouses. They’re capable of seeing at night as long as there’s some ambient light nearby such as a lantern or fire.‘Nobody Knew’ Four of its cameras were “consistently deployed” throughout the festival, and at least two others were there to be used as needed, according to the company. The cameras were controlled by a computerized command center in a 21-foot trailer that was parked atop a hill in the middle of a Frisbee golf course inside the park.“Nobody knew,” said Kevin Danciak, the company’s Midwestern sales representative. “It just looked like parabolic dishes on top of a trailer.”The plan to use the cameras came about when Danciak ran into Clinton State Park manager Jerry Schecher at a Kansas narcotics officers’ meeting early this year or late last year. Danciak was there to promote his equipment. Schecher was looking for answers to growing concerns about drug dealing at the festival, which was heading into its third year and was growing in popularity.Had there not been a strong move this year by law enforcement to control the situation, Schecher said, the state would not have allowed the festival to continue.“This is a crowd that has a high expectation of privacy and freedom, and I respect that, within limits,” Schecher said. “I struggled with this a little bit, but I felt like we were doing it for the right reasons. If it was meant to be Big Brother and spying on people, I wouldn’t have done it.”One festivalgoer said the hidden cameras were “a shame and kind of embarrassing.“I feel like it was really a big mistake because people at a festival are trying to have a good time and let loose. I would be willing to bet that most people wouldn’t be OK with that had they known,” Ali Mangan said.She said law enforcement should have at leased publicized the hidden cameras. The surveillance was conducted at the expense of the privacy of people not selling drugs, Mangan said.Safer Means The main things the cameras captured, Danciak said, were hand-to-hand drug transactions and drug use. After zooming into an area where drug sales were happening, police could then send an officer in to make an undercover buy that was caught on camera.“We could see if there was a problem and then address it rather than just having to focus all of our foot patrols or enforcement in that area all of the time,” Schecher said.Danciak said the result was a safer way of busting drug deals.“No fighting, no running, no guns drawn, nothing,” he said. “It was just, ‘You pop around the corner, you’re there, you identify yourself and you see people just deflate.’”He declined comment on whether the cameras covered the festival stage areas or campground areas outside the festival.At least a month before the festival began, Schecher said, promoter Brett Mosiman was notified of the plan for security cameras. Mosiman did not return phone calls Thursday seeking comment.The cameras’ presence was not publicized in the Lawrence area before or after the festival.The article in Government Security News said the images produced were so good that some alleged dealers entered pleas based on the strength of that evidence. But Dist. Atty. Charles Branson, whose office is charged with prosecuting the cases, said he did not know of any cases in which that happened.Many of those arrested at the festival were allowed to plead to lower charges in a massive docket call a few days after the hearing.Police seized more than $11,000 in suspected drug money, but some of that came outside the festival grounds in a Kansas Highway Patrol checkpoint.Lt. Kari Wempe, of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the lead agency at the festival, said the camera system worked well.“It gave a good overall aerial view of the grounds, which we would not have had otherwise,” she said.But so far, she said, the sheriff has no plans to buy any of the company’s equipment. Schecher said he would like to use a similar system at the park in the future, perhaps for catching people who try to break into pay stations, but not necessarily for next year’s festival.“Kevin has nice toys, but they’re expensive,” he said.Staff writer George Diepenbrock contributed to this story.Note: Hidden cameras helped in drug busts.Source: Lawrence Journal-World (KS)Author: Eric Weslander Published: Friday, September 15, 2006Copyright: 2006 The Lawrence Journal-WorldWebsite: Surveillance Archives
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Comment #18 posted by whig on September 17, 2006 at 17:07:55 PT
"interviewing people on controversial subjects is itself specifically what he gets paid $400,000/year for"He's not paid to interview people on controversial subjects. He is supposed to sell soap, and more than that, he is supposed to represent General Electric, the owner of NBC, and a major defense contractor.He does that pretty well, I think.BOOOOOP!
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Comment #17 posted by Max Flowers on September 17, 2006 at 16:22:23 PT
The thing here though is that a guy who makes his living on "Meet The Press" asking important people tough questions has to be able to answer a couple of questions himself. Don't you see how bad that looks, when he can dish it out but he can't take it? He wasn't even being grilled about something he did or anything like that. The guy was just asking Russert if he would consider having guests on Meet The Press who can make a compelling case for 9/11 being an inside job, and this alone made Russert run and hide. This is a very bad sign for the state of the media, and it's a very cowardly thing to run away from an interview like that when interviewing people on controversial subjects is itself specifically what he gets paid $400,000/year for (I'm just taking a wild guess on his salary).
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Comment #16 posted by whig on September 16, 2006 at 10:06:01 PT
I have to say that the interviewer was interrupting him a lot and making him uncomfortable before he did the hang-up. But it was a funny way to+++
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Comment #15 posted by Max Flowers on September 16, 2006 at 09:36:46 PT
It's the same thing I've done a few times in the past to get away from telemarketers (which thankfully I haven't heard anything from since I dumped my SBC land line). I would answer and they would go "Hello, may I speak to Max Flowers?" in a way that revealed them to be telemarketers. Already knowing who/what they were, I would say "Speaking," and then as soon as they started their pitch, I would start tapping the hang-up button (receiver switch, whatever it's called) while going "Hello?" Hello...?" and they would go "Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?" And then I was gone. It was a lot less hassle than having to explain to them that I didn't want anything they were offering, and having them tempt me to rudely hang up on them.But I never thought I'd see a famous reporter/interviewer do that to another in order to get out of talking about something that made him uncomfortable! And it's so amazing to me that one moment Russert was congratulating himself on asking administration officials tough questions about the coming Iraq war in 2003, and then the next moment, the idea of administration complicity in 9/11 was so hot that he had to run and hide from even talking about it. It revealed him as a coward, far, far from a brave reporter asking hard-hitting questions. I've never seen anything like it.
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Comment #14 posted by lombar on September 16, 2006 at 08:29:36 PT
Former cafe owner gets 15 months in jail 
Saturday, September 16, 2006Cafe owner gets 15 months in jail for selling potCarol Gwilt had openly sold the drug at Commercial Drive establishmentDarah Hansen
Vancouver SunThe owner of the now defunct Da Kine Cafe on Commercial Drive has been sentenced to 15 months in jail for openly selling marijuana to customers.At the height of the coffee shop's success in the summer of 2004, police say it attracted thousands of customers to its doors, gaining international attention.Justice Catherine Wedge of the B.C. Supreme Court took only minutes to render her decision in sentencing Carol Gwilt.Gwilt, 39, who has no previous criminal record, told reporters during a break in the proceedings she was prepared to receive a lengthy prison sentence, but admitted she found the reality of the situation difficult to accept."I think it's really hardcore. I'm going to have a hard time," she said.The length of the jail term was part of a joint sentencing submission made to the court earlier in the day's proceedings by Crown counsel Paul Riley and defence lawyer Jason Gratl. The submission also called for a 10-year firearms ban and forfeiture of all cash and a vehicle seized by police following Gwilt's arrest.In May, Gwilt was found guilty of charges of possession of marijuana for the purposes of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime charges involving Da Kine. She pleaded guilty to a second set of possession for the purposes of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime charges in July, again involving Da Kine.Earlier on Friday, Gratl asked the judge to consider imposing a more lenient sentence on Gwilt, urging her to consider Vancouver's more relaxed attitude towards the sale and use of marijuana."How bad a crime is depends on the community and the community's attitude towards the crime," he argued.Gratl said his client had been given "conflicting messages" from authorities in the months leading up to the raid on her business on Sept. 9, 2004, in which investigators seized nine kilograms of marijuana, some hashish and 300 cannabis-laced cookies, as well as about $60,000.One week later, on Sept. 16, police arrested her in a car along with a bag of marijuana and some $5,000.Though the sale and recreational use of marijuana is illegal in Canada, Gratl said his client was able to openly dispense pot to thousands of customers for five months without any interference from authorities -- including police, health authorities and city hall.Gratl also told the judge that Gwilt never meant any disrespect to the courts when she was rearrested days after the Sept. 9 police raid for breaching her bail conditions by continuing to operate the cafe."The point is, when she defied the order, she was defying the [Vancouver Police Department] and their search. She was not defying the judiciary," he said.But the judge put a swift end to Gratl's arguments, calling them irrelevant."[Gwilt] has accepted responsibility for the offences," the judge said. "I simply can't have it both ways: 'I'm responsible, but I want you to take into account the actions of others.' "In an interview outside court prior to sentencing Friday, Gwilt said she will never again flout the law as she did in 2004."I wouldn't do it again like that," she said of her involvement with the cafe.She said her reason for trafficking marijuana was never about making money."I was trying to make a good, positive thing happen in Vancouver. It just became too much of a good thing," she said.But Gwilt said she has nothing now to show for her once-booming business."I definitely didn't get a thing out of this except a jail sentence," she said.A medical marijuana user who is legally permitted to smoke and possess pot under a Health Canada exception to ease symptoms associated with chronic vertigo, Gwilt openly smoked a marijuana joint outside the courthouse.Friends said they feared Gwilt's health will suffer in jail where she will not have access to marijuana."Jail is not a safe place," said a tearful supporter, Dori Dempster, adding she was disappointed the judge failed to consider Gwilt's medical need for marijuana during sentencing.Dempster said her last words to her friend before she was led off to jail were those of encouragement: "I said, 'We love you.' And we hope that love is going to keep her safe."Outside court, Gratl declined to comment about his client's sentence, saying: "It's within the appropriate range of sentencing.""There's a question of law and a question of feeling. If it was a question of how I am feeling, [Gwilt] would still be out here," he said.Gratl noted that several businesses where marijuana can be purchased and openly smoked remain operating in Vancouver "without disruption from police in a manner similar to the Da Kine."He said heavy media attention focussed on the Da Kine during its months of operation likely contributed to its demise."I have no doubt the store was a victim of its own success," he said.LTE Contact: sunletters
Contrast that with this:SENTENCE DOESN'T INSPIRE CONFIDENCE IN JUSTICE SYSTEMSir: Re: Observer Court Report ( "Couple Charged For String Of Crimes," The Observer, Sept. 7, 2006 )Dawn-Euphemia "farmer" Ken Clark gets caught with $270,000 worth of marijuana, $180,000 worth of stolen vehicles and guns, and illegal cigarettes and alcohol. His sentence? Two years of house arrest to allow him to continue farming ( more marijuana? ) and a $25,000 fine.The investigation involved three police departments so the fine didn't dent the investigation costs and court costs.Justice Austin said she had some reluctance accepting the sentence presented jointly by the defence and prosecution. Really? Then don't accept their recommendations.This "sentence" gives a whole new meaning to the term "plea bargain."Justice for the victims: NILDeterrence factor: NILCommon sense factor: NILPublic confidence in the justice system: NIL --------------------------------------Sick and twisted. 
Source of first story.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on September 16, 2006 at 08:04:34 PT
BPD To Smoke Out Drug-Law Violators
Saturday, September 16, 2006 Boston police are warning anyone who plans to attend the Freedom Rally on the Common today that there is no amnesty from laws on drug possession or use during the event. 
  In past years, some drug-addled youth were deluded into believing that smoking pot and other drug use were allowed during the annual hemp fest - a foolish notion that resulted in dozens of arrests. 
   “Let there be no confusion or mistaken assumptions on the part of attendees Saturday: there is no ‘amnesty’ or any relaxation of the commonwealth’s drug-control laws during this event,” police said.Copyright by the Boston Herald and Herald Media
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on September 16, 2006 at 06:22:44 PT
It's good to see you. 
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Comment #11 posted by potpal on September 16, 2006 at 05:50:31 PT
..had they 'seized' as much as $250,000 of 'suspected' drug money from the festival merry makers, they'd run right out and buy the new 'toy'...then go play cops and robbers (of your rights) some more.
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Comment #10 posted by whig on September 16, 2006 at 03:06:55 PT
BOOOOP!I'm having phone problems.BOOOOP!My finger keeps getting stuck on the keypad.
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Comment #9 posted by whig on September 16, 2006 at 00:06:14 PT
Let the artists know
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Comment #8 posted by greenmed on September 15, 2006 at 23:53:35 PT
That William Burroughs called Lawrence home speaks volumes. If he was alive today, he'd have a lot to comment on ... he had a keen way of cutting through the bullshit.
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Comment #7 posted by whig on September 15, 2006 at 23:25:49 PT
Festival lineup
That is incredible. Does anyone know how to get the word to all of these performers how they were used to bait this disgusting trap?
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Comment #6 posted by Max Flowers on September 15, 2006 at 23:13:06 PT
Tim Russert is a neocon tool and a wuss
You guys won't believe this one. Listen to the audio here of a radio talk show host interviewing Russert. Eventually his questions to Russert come around to the subject of 9/11 and how so many respected scientists and ex-white house staffers are stating their belief that the Bush administration is complicit in the attacks. Russert suddenly clams up, clearly uncomfortable, and then actually FAKES PHONE PROBLEMS in a painfully obvious and childish ruse to get out talking about it, and hangs up.It is a stark and disgusting demonstration of how deep these mainstream media types are in the pockets of the Neocons. I never thought I would hear/see anything like that in my life. This is very serious. These cowards are all SO AFRAID of pissing off government figures and being blackballed for it... or are they afraid of a fate even more sinister? I don't care if they are---that is the job they are supposed to be doing!! And they run away from it every time, and worse still they aid and abet these monsters in doing so (and in the case of scumbags like Sean Hannity, shill for them 100%). Listen to the audio and know beyond all doubt just how much trouble we are all in, and how worthless the mainstream news media really is.
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Comment #5 posted by devohawk on September 15, 2006 at 22:36:41 PT
Lawrence, KS 
I haven't posted in quite a while, but I do read CN daily and since Lawrence has been my stomping grounds for 20 years I have to comment.This is not reflective of Lawrence in general. Lawrence is very very very lax on cannabis and a wonderful place to live in my opinion. This could only happen because it was not inside the city limits. The festival takes place at the Clinton State Park. This Jerry Schecher is a tool and promoter Brett Mosiman just killed the Wakarusa Festival, at least it does for me. Good thing Lawrence has many music venues.We've got some very politically active people in Lawrence like Mark Creamer and Thomas Trower with their HONK FOR HEMP: (requires Quick Time) gets kicked around a lot and it's very much deserved at times but Lawrence is an oasis to open minded people in Kansas and the midwest much like Columbia MO. If you're driving down I-70 it's the only place in Kansas I would recommend visiting.  Peace
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on September 15, 2006 at 21:04:22 PT
“This is a crowd that has a high expectation of privacy and freedom, and I respect that, within limits,” Schecher said. “I struggled with this a little bit, but I felt like we were doing it for the right reasons. If it was meant to be Big Brother and spying on people, I wouldn’t have done it.”The festival-goer's privacy and freedom was non-existent. Cameras monitoring folk's every move but it wasn't like "big brother and spying on people." Barf.He declined comment on whether the cameras covered the festival stage areas or campground areas outside the festival.In other words, individual campsites were monitored. I wonder how many naked chicks they saw? How many sexual acts? No wonder he won't comment!Police seized more than $11,000 in suspected drug money, but some of that came outside the festival grounds in a Kansas Highway Patrol checkpoint.That is really Bullsh*t! The cops were stopping vehicles without probable cause simply because of the music that they listen to!!!Festival Lineup a lineup! No wonder the fascists violated everyone's privacy. Can't have a bunch of anti-Bush,free-thinking individuals enjoying themselves now, can we? God Bless Amerika!THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Switzerland's Largest Newspaper asks if Bush was behind 9-11 (translation): RALLY, Ground Zero 9/11/06 (pictures): Whistleblower: Richard Andrew Grove (Transcript):, Propaganda, and You: the 9/11 Families are Saying: Military, Intelligence, and Government Critics of 9/11 Commission Report: McKinney's Congressional Briefing Transcript Now Available:, thanks for that link!
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on September 15, 2006 at 19:27:59 PT
mayan, 911 tidbits.
The Path to 9/11... leads to neo-con roach nest &Sickening decency
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Comment #2 posted by Truth on September 15, 2006 at 19:27:36 PT
This isn't Kansas Toto.
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Comment #1 posted by ekim on September 15, 2006 at 18:46:18 PT
what a nut----listen to yourself schecher
Schecher said. “I struggled with this a little bit, but I felt like we were doing it for the right reasons. If it was meant to be Big Brother and spying on people, I wouldn’t have done it.”Had there not been a strong move this year by law enforcement to control the situation, Schecher said, the state would not have allowed the festival to continue.Did the cops make schecher keep quiet, and not tell the people that they would be on camera -----
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