Saturday, January 22, 2011

Surveillance Blimp Attracts National Attention

Mayor finally puts Ogden on map.

By Dan Schroeder

After eleven years of complaining that “we're not on the map,” Mayor Godfrey has finally found a way to attract national attention to Ogden. And it's not just the attention of niche publications for skiers and backpackers; Ogden is now on Yahoo News, CBS, Reuters, and dozens of blogs spanning the political spectrum from Talking Points Memo to Free Republic.

What brought our new-found fame? It wasn't an urban gondola; nor was it indoor surfing or skydiving; nor was it pyromaniac urban renewal schemes; nor even chasing police officers’ wives.

No, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the mayoral brainstorm that has finally put Ogden on the map is none other than... The Blimp!

Here’s what they said about it on today’s episode of the NPR news quiz Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me (segment Panel Round Two, starting at 3:10):

Host Peter Sagal: Tom, the mayor of Ogden, Utah has a plan to fight crime. He’s going to unleash the awesome power of what? (In the skies.)

Panelist Tom Bodett: Oh, um, seagulls.

Sagal: No.

Bodett: Oh, camera-toting seagulls.

Sagal: No.

Bodett: Uh, something more predatory—hawks, perhaps.

Sagal: No.

Bodett: Uh, can I have a hint?

Sagal: It’ll be a GOOD YEAR for law enforcement. Really he’s just FLOATING this idea.

Bodett: Oh (chuckles)... blimps!

Sagal: Yes! Crime-fighting blimps, high above Ogden. Mayor Matthew Godfrey of Ogden noticed high-crime cities had one thing in common: no blimps in the skies. There must be a connection. Ogden officials hope that flying an unmanned dirigible around town will aid in surveillance and crime prevention. Criminals will be like, “Hey, let’s steal a TV... Wait what’s that? It's a blimp! Oh, it must be the year 1917; TVs haven't been invented yet; let’s do something else.”... The high-speed chases though, with a blimp, would be very disappointing. Every time the local anchors get excited they’re like, “And the blimp is in pursuit! Oh, the humanity. Looks like the crime blimp has got them this time! Oh, the humanity.”


Arthur Godfrey said...

How nice, a story about a lighter than air ship and a Mayor that has a brain pan lighter than air.

trekkie said...

the comments to all the artickles are funny! Cries of Big Brother, and shooting it down ...


Curmudgeon said...

Ah, one of my favorite NPR shows and Ogden made it! We're in the big time now!

Ray said...

It was in Jay Leno's monologue a couple nights ago as well but didn't refer to Ogden just Utah.

OneWhoKnows said...

This could be bigger than the staged bicycle robbery incident that made Matt a crime fighter without a cape a while back. Turns out The Joker was only his Sunday School student that wasn't following his teachings of alcohol absentance. Still think he's not running?

Bryan Done said...

I guess Godfrey has never been to Oakland...

drewmeister said...

I raced onto the site this morning after listening to the Wait Wait podcast, thinking "no one else listens to this show around here.. I've got to tell about how proud we can all be of this bat-shit crazy mayor of ours.." Of course Ogden's real Saint Dan beat me to it. ;-) At least it was my hero that one-upped me.

Congratulations, Matty. You are a national embarrassment. You are a hypocrite, a liar and a fool. Unfortunately, the 49% of us who can vote without verifying the priesthood status of the candidate are screwed for at least two more years.

The 51% who did vote for him: Thanks for electing Rasputin to a third term.


Not sure what all the fuss is about....this would be a huge deterrent for future city council candidates taking illegal campaign funds, meeting with people but not admitting to a business relationship and using the line "I didn't think I did anything wrong". If the blimp had been available with multiple views of the city, could we have been able to verify who, what and where in Blain Johnson's alleged illegal campaign funds investigation by the state attorney general? Please correct me if I'm wrong, this would be used to fight white collar crime too, right?

OneWhoKnows said...

Would it catch THE BISHOP at the liquor store? How about Patterson in the back seat in WVC? Geiner signing Federal Grants with his fingers crossed?

Maybe Mattie has finally made a good decision?

No..that wouldn't be it!

ozboy said...

Instead of kicking back and basking in the international fame and glory this proposal has brought to Ogden, all you naysayers and other pointy headed intellectuals can do is ridicule and make jokes about our "Dear Leader".

And speaking of our "Dear Leader" has any one else ever noticed the striking resemblance between Kim and Matt? They sorta of look alike, both short and beady eyed, they both have similar personalities and most of all they have the same approach to governance.

Curmudgeon said...

Sorry to be a contrarian on this, but seems to me still that until we know a lot more than we now do (a) the capabilities of Quiet Earp [the cameras, resolution, field of view, operating altitude, ability to sustain hits by random shooter, and more] and (b) the uses to which the OPD proposes to put it, it's hard to draw any firm conclusions about whether it would be a good thing for OPD to invest in or not.

Those questions about its capabilities and planned use would of course key into other potential concerns: like the potential for invasion of privacy, etc. And those are legal questions that would need to be examined before the city invested. [E.g. do people have an enforceable "expectation of privacy" in their back yards? On their fenced in back yard decks? Would anything potentially "seen" by Quiet Earp while floating over the back yards of Ogden be inadmissible in court then? What would happen to the tapes of inadmissible things seen on a float by? Etc. etc.]

So, I think we don't know enough yet to conclude on solid evidence whether it would be a wise investment for the city or not. We need to know more first.


Thanks a lot Curm for bursting our bubble! (in this case blimp) We all know what happens in the Wonderdome, stays in the Wonderdome! (we'll need a mini blimp for this structure)

Anonymous said...

At least the Gang Bangers will have something for target practice other than each other.

Dan S. said...

Interesting article from the Washington Post:

Domestic use of aerial drones by law enforcement likely to prompt privacy debate

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