The NYPD deployed multiple TARU surveillance teams throughout the streets on Monday as activists gathered for a one year anniversary celebration of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The TARU (which stands for Technical Assistance Response Unit) teams filmed protesters with handheld cameras, moving throughout crowds and following shortly behind the white shirted police officers who swept in to make arrests.
The area surrounding Zuccotti park and the NY stock exchange contained multiple surveillance towers as well as cameras affixed to poles hoisted from unmarked police cars. Also present was an unmarked police truck with this attached to the roof:
An internet search revealed this image depicting the same technology in use during one of President Obama's visits to NYC:
If you know what either of these devices is, please get in touch.
UPDATE: A number of people contacted me via Twitter and pointed me to information suggesting that the device in the image above, at right, is a microwave video and audio signals transmitter. (Thanks to @cmax88, @cmhahtd, @samuelheard and @1000burners for the tips.) Sure enough, the technology company Microwave Radio Communications manufactures something that looks exactly like it:
The megahorn microwave antenna is capable of transmitting large quantities of video and audio data from IP networked surveillance cameras (perhaps like those that populate nearly ever street corner in lower Manhattan, and those on the NYPD's special surveillance towers set up for Occupy Wall Street) to base stations or command centers. News trucks sometimes use them to broadcast live feeds from the street to their newsrooms or live on air to networks.
This particular megahorn antenna appears to have two other powerful antennas attached to it: a boomerang antenna and an omni-pole antenna. It's not clear why the police would want three extremely powerful antenna systems virtually on top of one another, but it suggests that they are transmitting or capturing lots of information — perhaps three different kinds at once.
Note: Someone suggested that the black device on the pole to the left of the tripartite antenna conglomeration is a wifi packet sniffer (close-up image below), but I was unable to locate any evidence for this. If you have any information about what that device may be, please let me know.
UPDATE: Another reader thinks the black device in the image below is a high tech surveillance camera manufactured by a company called RVision. Indeed, this model on the company's website looks like it could be the same product.
UPDATE: Two readers emailed me and said essentially the same thing: Both present in NYC on September 17 for the OWS events, they asked the NYPD officers inside the unmarked SUV about the technology on top of it, and the officers told them it was face recognition equipment. I can't confirm that is the case, but if the black device below is the expensive surveillance camera it appears to be (see update above), it's certainly possible.