Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane. No…

Police officers perform job duties using a variety of modes of transportation: helicopter, airplane, motorcycle, bicycle, horse, Ferrari, ATV, segway, and paraglider. Wait—paraglider???

Now this from the innovative police news (there is a video with the story at the link):

The Palm Bay Police Department (FL) has announced that it will begin to use a paragliding team of police officers in special operations.

The Search Operations Aerial Response team will deploy for surveillance, to locate missing vehicles and other property, photograph crime scenes, search for missing people and assess damage after disasters.

Palm Bay's police are believed to be the first law enforcement agency in the country to use paragliding officers.

The department also expects to use the aircraft for routine aerial patrols over sections of the city with higher crime rates.

"It's able to fly very low, and it's also able to fly thousands of feet in the air," said Lt. Joe Eakins, who worked with Lt. Mark Renkins to develop the paragliding program for the department…
I wouldn’t volunteer for that assignment (I am hoping that they have metal plates underneath to protect those flying from ground-based potshots), but to each his/her own.

I can see using something like that to search for a missing child in rugged beach-like terrain, but in patrol work?

I think cameras in high-crime areas supported by walking or bicycle units would be much more efficient, effective, and approachable by the public. Or, at least I did until I read this response to the paragliding issue by an Officer.com poster named Flanker:

In my county the SO (sheriff’s office) is switching their bike unit to a unicycle unit in order to save money on refilling tires.
Now that is too funny.


mappchik said...

The value of the lower cost aerial option is a great idea. Love the use for search & rescue, and for aerial shots of crime and disaster scenes. But for patrolling?

I can see the middle & high school kids now, hanging out in the culdesacs and neighborhood parks with their paintball/airsoft rifles. (Or maybe that's just why it would never be a viable option in the Atlanta suburbs.)

mappchik said...

The unicycle comment from officer.com was choice.

It's going to be flashing through my head on the local bike path rides, as I smile and wave at the mountain bike patrol officers.

Christopher said...

Hey, maybe it's just a PR stunt.

Let's hope? I'm with you. No way I'd open myself up like that. Police helicopters work just fine.

Sandra G. said...

Too funny. Paragliders? In our turbulent coastal air stream? Ummmm....no.

Cindy Beck said...

Paragliders on patrol is bad enough, but unicycles?

It's a joke ... right?

Erin said...

How about giving officers those boots that have wheels in the bottom that flip out when you kick your feet up? That way they'd have the advantage when in a downhill foot pursuit.

Slamdunk said...

Great suggestion Erin--heelies! But the officers would have to remove them at the mall since most places outlaw them.

Roanoke Cop said...

Slow moving targets to shoot at. Good idea... Not.