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Police say surveillance boxes not linked to the Department of Homeland Security

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You may have seen a police box around town lately, and if you don't know what it is, you aren't alone.

"I wish I knew where my tax money was going for those blue boxes because I don't know what they're doing. I just see them and I just wonder what they're there for," explained Franklin resident, Loretta Booker 

The box has the words "homeland" written on the side, which leaves people wondering whether it's from the Federal Government's national Homeland Security Department. 

"We have nothing funded by the Federal Government. This is all Lafayette Police Department. The 'homeland' that you see on the side of those trailers, which are just mobile surveillance units, that's just the name of the company that manufactures them. There's nothing to do with Homeland Security or anything like that," explained Lafayette Police Department's Cpl. Karl Ratcliff. 

Lafayette Consolidated Government has dedicated about $230,000 of taxpayers money this year to pay for the mobile surveillance units.

Right now LPD just has one demo unit operating, but four more have been ordered and will be deployed around Lafayette in February.

These units will be an addition to the 56 stationary cameras around the parish. 

"With this camera trailer, we're able to deploy it into an area as opposed to the other cameras that are fixed in certain areas. We can actually bring this out to a location and deploy it and combat issues we may be having in that particular area," explained Ratcliff 

The video is stored in the units for seven days and police say they do not capture audio. 

They also say facial recognition isn't possible with their system yet, but with the rapid rate of technological advancement the LPD "Real Time Crime Center" could pinpoint anyone's face remotely from any location in the parish. 

"We do not have facial recognition capabilities with these units. Something it would be nice to have, but no we don't have that yet. Not that capability yet," explained Ratcliff 

According to the department, the Real Time Crime Center can also tap into the surveillance systems of the parish's schools.

Deputies say it's all for security and to deter crime. 

They say they make the police boxes and signage overt so that people are well aware that they are watching. 

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