High-tech watch tower to aid police in Richmond

By Curt Autry - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - The Richmond Police Department will soon get a bird's eye view of major events.

It's a new high tech crime fighting tool, paid for with money seized in drug raids.

It has the hydrolics of a bucket truck - combined with the high-tech survellience equipment of a police command post, which can rise at least 25 feet into the air.

This is the Richmond Police Department's SkyWatch mobile surveillence tower.

The unit is equipped with tinted glass, video cameras with recording devices, flood lights, and a loudspeaker system.

It is heated, air-conditioned and has a generator that can allow it to operate uninterrupted for several days.

Expect to see it deployed at almost any event where there's a big crowd.

"They have a 360-degree view from up there," said Richmond Police Lt. Jack King. "There's a camera mounted on it - that allows us to focus in on any situation that may occur within a crowd."

This device cost about $130 thousand - and was paid for entirely with funds siezed in drug arrests.

And it's being put into service right way.

With a flashing blue light on top - it will be very visible - and an important tool - with many uses.

"In a Brown's Island or any family friendly event, when a missing child comes up - and we have a description, we're already up above the crowd - and maybe find the child," Lt. King said.

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