If not, then I propose the following idea: the city should buy one such car for every street in St. Louis and then the populace will be extra-super-guaranteed safe. The Watchers can track every single public movement of every resident. Littering, illegal dumping, jaywalking, spitting on the sidewalk, administering corporal punishment to a child who tries to run into the street, feeding children junk food from McDonald’s, public urination, thinking bad thoughts– all these heinous crimes can be prevented or prosecuted!
What I can’t believe is that no one would be upset that such an armored car– parked in what we are assured are “high crime” areas– is named “The Exterminator”. Is this a city-sponsored hate crime? What if you parked a menacing, camera-studded armored car called “The Exterminator” in a predominately Jewish area? A predominately black area? Hello? Who is in charge in this town?
And note the casual drop that Big CarBrother can be used anywhere there are “large crowds”. So, make sure you never exercise your former right to peaceably assemble, either.
And of course there is no word on the camera program to watch the Watchers. Do we get to see that? Reading the comments of the St. Clair County official, whose county already uses this form of public intimidation, doesn’t give me a high degree of complacency.
I will now hold my breath and wait for the public outcry.
Retrofitted armored car to stand guard in city
by Robert Patrick
Following in the footsteps of law enforcement around the country, city police will soon have an anti-crime armored car to take pictures in trouble spots, officials announced Wednesday.
Dubbed “the Exterminator” by the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department and “the Armadillo” elsewhere, the basic idea is this: Take an armored car retired from money courier duty. Attach police decals, cameras and recording devices. Then park it in front of the houses of drug dealers and ne’er-do-wells to scare them straight — or at least scare them away.
The truck is courtesy of Brink’s Inc., which agreed to sell a used vehicle for $10. The St. Louis Police Foundation, a nonprofit that uses donations to help the department, agreed to pay up to $10,000 for the retrofitting.
Spiess, commander of the 7th District, said after the meeting that the truck would get cameras with 360-degree coverage, graffiti-resistant paint, specially hardened tires and shielded lights and windows. He estimated that the total cost would run $6,500 to $8,500 and that the truck could be ready for duty by fall.
Spiess said officials planned to park the truck in front of various problem properties in his district, which sits north of Forest Park, and in the Delmar Loop to dissuade troublemakers there.
It could also be used at special events or anywhere large crowds are expected.
“I think its a damn good move on their part,” said St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Justus, who began using his department’s Exterminator last fall. “Its been successful here.”
“When we put it a neighborhood, the neighbors love it,” Justus said. “All the (expletive) stops,” he added.
The Exterminator now has its own website, including a truck tracker and a “Help! I need the Exterminator” feature.