COMPTON ( — Compton residents were shocked to learn about a high-tech surveillance system that was being tested in the city two years ago.

“I [didn’t know about it.] Wow. It really bothers me a lot,” resident Latonya Lindsey said. “We should know, I mean, we should have the opportunity to know…if we’re gonna be kinda like, spied on. If that’s what’s going on, people should know.”

The wide-area surveillance pilot program, which was tested in 2012, used an airplane flying at 10,000 feet and sophisticated cameras mounted to it to record a 25 square mile area.

Inventors said the beauty of the system was the ability to rewind the footage and pinpoint a crime or suspect.

“It allowed us, in the eyes of the inventor, [to be] basically like Google Earth,” Sgt. Douglas Iketani of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

Iketani, however, said the images were not as sharp as they had hoped for.

“We couldn’t tell if you were a man or a woman, a boy or a girl, at the altitude that thing was flying, we could barely tell if it was a full-size SUV or compact car,” he said.

The sheriff’s department passed on the technology, saying more needs to be done to improve it.

KCAL9’s Juan Fernandez reported that the technology was originally used in Afghanistan and Iraq to track down terrorists.