By Alex DeMetrick

MARYLAND (WJZ) — There’s a lot more water than there are water cops in Maryland. But on the Chesapeake, a whole new way of patrolling is starting up.

Alex DeMetrick reports high-tech surveillance has come to the bay.

It’s not easy sneaking up to a boat, especially when you’re Natural Resource Police.

“When you leave the harbor, and before you get to the oyster bar, everybody already knows you’re coming,” said Corporal Roy Rafter, Natural Resources Police.

But what if the boat doesn’t know you’re looking? That’s what a new high-tech surveillance system called M-Lein is capable of doing on the Chesapeake.

“That’s what the whole purpose of this is, is getting more eyes on the bay,” said Rafter.

“What you see here is our current radar picture,” said Tim Bowman, project manager.

For large ships, it produces vessel names and destinations. It can also monitor sensitive areas.

“So when we hit the alarm zone, we the vessel ‘James Rankin’ has entered our security zone,” said Bowman.

“We’re also going to be bringing in the long-range cameras to help with the poaching aspect. So an officer can asses a scene if there’s poaching in progress,” said Michael O’Dea, VidSys Company.

Eventually, there will be hundreds of cameras from a number of jurisdictions with water views. Some will be infrared to see at night. That will bring a faster response time to rescues and arrests.

With vast patrol areas, it means even officers who work alone, will have someone watching their backs.

The new surveillance system is also designed to be shared, giving federal, state and local agencies access to the same real time information.


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