It's called "the peacemaker," and it's basically a tricked out police surveillance van.
"Whatcha gonna do when we come for you?" is written in block letters on its exterior. A worthwhile question, it would seem, and one that many Florida residents are asking with mixed emotions.
The "Peacemaker" truck is a new tool in the Fort Lauderdale Police Department struggle against drug dealing and other pervasive neighborhood crimes. As the Sun Sentinel writes it is:
"Mixing high tech with simplicity, the in-your-face strategy is straightforward: load an out-of-service armored truck with some of the latest surveillance equipment available and decorate it with police emblems. Then, simply leave it parked in front of trouble spots."
This video clip, courtesy of the Sun Sentinel, gives an overview of the Peacemaker:
Fort Lauderdale police bought the first of their two Peacemakers from the Brinks company for $10 to take a discontinued armored bank truck off their hands. Cops retrofitted the vehicle with cameras that can stream live digital video feeds back to headquarters. And with its cameras facing in all directions, the surveillance wagon can compile footage for up to 700 hours.
"Make no mistakes about it," Detective Travis Mandell told the Sun Sentinel. "We want people to know that we are watching the bad guys."
Of course, many are already asking the question: just whom do the police consider "bad guys," and does everyone's sense of privacy have to disappear in order to keep a lid on petty crimes?