Governments all over New York State have been on a spending spree lately. That spending isn't just in New York City either. Erie County has a nearly $2 billion annual budget and is set to do a little additional spending for the Erie County Sheriff's Office.

The ECSO, who just purchased over 300 body cameras for deputies who work inside the two county jails, are now looking to spend another chunk of money on some equipment that is typically only used by the United States Military.

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According to WGRZ-TV, the Sheriff's Office has applied for a New York State grant that would allow to the purchase of all sorts of new equipment, including advanced military-grade x-ray equipment that can be used to scan motor vehicles.

This course is raising eyebrows all over the region as many believe that the ECSO does not have the best intentions when it comes to the privacy of Western New York's citizens.

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Investigative Post does a much deeper dive into the nearly $3 million grant request, which seeks to obtain the X-ray equipment, 50 surveillance cameras, 40 license plate readers, nine drones, and various additional equipment.

Australian Customs officers inspects a t
AFP via Getty Images

The Erie County Sheriff's Office, which also has and uses the controversial Stingray Cell Phone Trackers, stated in the grant application that the X-ray machine would enhance the agency’s details at all mass gatherings and critical infrastructure.

Investigative Post spoke with a senior researcher from Buffalo's Partnership for Public Good, who is an expert in criminal justice issues, cannot see a reasonable policing concern where the Sheriff's Office would need such a device.

It all sounds like tools for mass surveillance and invading people’s privacy and trampling people’s Fourth Amendment rights... What is the purpose of all this? Where will it be deployed? What communities will be affected? How does it translate into improving public safety?
-Colleen Kristich, Partnership For The Public Good

The Erie County Legislature is set to review and vote on a resolution supporting this grant application. We just have to hope they ask the right questions of the Sheriff's Office. Of course, the ECSO wants this for the good of the people and not to spy on even its citizens.

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