Dense urban crowd being monitored for safety using advanced surveillance equipment like covert pole cams, drones, and telescopic masts depicted with RATT logo.

Enhance Safety with Advanced Covert Surveillance Tech

Over the last twenty years, we’ve seen amazing improvement in law enforcement surveillance technology. Officers can run DNA samples collected decades ago to solve cold cases, use isotope analysis to identify John and Jane Does, and much more. Thanks to some recent technological developments, law enforcement can now get eyes in the sky to monitor special events, large crowds & more. If you’re trying to collect video evidence and/or conduct surveillance, a drone, covert pole camera, or telescopic masts are 3 great options.

Read on to learn more about each of these tools and how you can use them to get better information and keep your communities safer every day.

Basics of Drones

Before we dive into the uses of drones, covert pole cams, and telescopic masts, let’s talk a little about what each of these tools are and how they’re best used. A drone is a small independent machine equipped with helicopter-style rotors and at least one camera. They can be controlled remotely and are useful to capture footage in hard-to-reach areas.

Drones can be useful in hostage situations or during bomb investigations to get a lay of the land. They can be helpful in crime scene analysis when you need to get a larger view or in collecting evidence. Some drones can even be equipped with tools to help eliminate bomb threats without putting the bomb squad in harm’s way.

When to Use a Drone

Drones are a great option any time you need something done at a scene that might put first responders’ lives in danger. Bomb scenes and hostage situations are common examples, but drones can be a great way to gather information about an area before law enforcement moves in. They can also help officers get ahead of a suspect by giving them eyes in the sky, as well as to monitor traffic during large events.

It is important to be aware of your state’s policy about law enforcement drone usage. Some states have laws prohibiting law enforcement from using drones for anything other than detecting, investigating, and prosecuting crimes.

Basics of Covert Pole Cams

A covert pole camera is a camera mounted on to any pole (typically a utility pole) that can be used to surveil an area. As the name suggests, these poles are designed to be covert so that suspects don’t notice them around while they’re gathering intel. They must be quick and easy to deploy so that suspects don’t notice you spending half the day mounting the hidden-camera enclosure on it.

Pole cams usually have audio and video recording capabilities so officers can hear what suspects are saying and doing. They usually have strong network security to prevent some third party from hacking in and accessing the feed. And it’s quite common to have the cameras mounted on these poles to be able to pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) to get quality footage for evidence.

When to Use a Covert Pole Cam

Covert pole cams can be a great tool for collecting evidence and catching criminals in the act. If there’s an area where you suspect drug deals or human trafficking are happening, you can set up a covert pole cam to gather information about these operations. You can identify key suspects and figure out their routines so you can intervene, arrest and prosecute.

Basics of Telescopic Masts

In situations where first responders need elevated surveillance for more than 20 minutes with a more flexible field of view than drones, and a more powerful optical zoom capability, telescopic masts can help them get eyes in the sky in minutes. These portable MIL-STD-810 masts can reach 30-50 feet and telescope down to less than 8 feet. You can mount The RATT telescoping masts to a vehicle’s hitch receiver, a building’s or command center’s wall, deploy freestanding on tripod or on most trailers.

Once you have a telescopic mast deployed, there are a variety of things you can mount on it. ONVIF camera-based mobile surveillance towers are one of the most popular options, providing law enforcement with rapid command & control of special events, critical incidents, and long-range or tactical surveillance. Depending on the mast selected, you may also be able to use these for antennas, WiFi access points, lighting, 3D scanners, acoustic hailing devices and more.

When to Use a Telescopic Mast

Factors such as deployment length (i.e. over 30 minutes), weather conditions, remote control or live streaming requirements, mission objective(s) and time of day help determine whether a telescopic mast or drone would be a better fit. A telescopic mast is a flexible tool deployable in most weather conditions that can help you keep an eye on large public events, run license plates via a portable LPR camera, monitor & record DUI check points or perimeters, improve radio or cellular signal with an elevated antenna, see through smoke or at night with thermal cameras, etc. You can experience The RATT’s live stream capabilities 24x7x365 anytime by request!

Unlike covert cameras, telescopic masts are not designed to be subtle. These are best used in active crime situations, including hostage negotiations, serving high-risk warrants, SWAT team situational awareness, deploying analytics (i.e. facial or license plate recognition) or in large event management. That’s why they’re perfect for a wide range of job specialties that require surveillance, safety, outdoor events, weather monitoring, and much more.

Get the Best Surveillance Tools

Video surveillance is a large part of law enforcement and tools like the ones we’ve discussed can give agencies the information & evidence they require. A telescopic mast can stay operational for weeks at a time, drones can go where officers can’t, and a covert pole cam can gather evidence without tipping off suspects. All of The RATT’s cameras are proudly ONVIF, TAA & NDAA Compliant.

If you’d like to find the best surveillance tools on the market, check out the rest of our site at The Rapid All-Terrain Tower (RATT) is deployed by the U.S. Military, the DOD, the FBI, the TSA, and many more public safety agencies. Contact us today with any questions or feel free to request a quote.

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