On Tuesday, November 29th, the San Diego Police Department used Ocean Beach as their test site for the brand new surveillance tower that when used, rises 25 feet out of its mother ship, a supped-up van. Apparently, if the tower works at the beach, it can be used everywhere.
“San Diego is a coastal community,” police Lt. Andra Brown told the media. “We have to know that if it’s a piece of equipment that can be utilized everywhere… that it can be used on the beach.”
Officially called the Mobile Utility Surveillance Tower (MUST), the platform or pod can be quickly raised when police want to survey or spy on the citizenry in just a few minutes, and it can be operated by just one officer. Once up, the tower has a 360-degree view.
“You’ve got elevated eyes for command and control at any sort of scene whether it’s a crime scene [or] a disaster,” Brown said.
Bought by police with grant money for $200,000, it operates on a lithium ion battery and can stand up to 40 mile an hour winds, so OB was chosen not for its unruly and criminally-behaving crowds, but for the winds. Police say they will share the surveillance tower-van with other regional law enforcement agencies. It does not need a trailer to be towed, unlike the police department’s other surveillance towers.
Brown stated that police hope to have the tower operational before New Year’s. She added:
“The beauty of the new Terra Hawk piece of equipment is that from the time you park it, it’s up and deployed in two or three minutes.”