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Nassau and Suffolk police officers sitting at their desks or in patrol cars now have the ability to view live video of fleeing suspects and crime scenes captured by police helicopters high in the sky.
The newly launched technology will vastly improve police ability to respond to emergencies by giving officers on the ground a bird’s-eye view of everything from a sinking vessel to a bank robber on the run, officials said.
Police departments on Long Island and throughout the country have long used helicopters as a law enforcement tool. But this new technology — including cameras with high-resolution zoom and the ability to live-stream the footage to phones and other electronic devices using new microwave downlink technology — will “greatly improve officer response time and officer safety as a result of increased coordination of ground-based units, enhanced detection of threats and increased operational picture awareness,” said acting Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter.
Nassau is among the first in the region to begin using the automatic streaming component, officials said. Supervisors watching the video in real time can then direct officers and other resources to more effectively respond, officials said.
Both departments recently began rolling out the technology — Suffolk is still testing, while Nassau has a limited number of supervisors with access — and are working to determine to whom in the department it will be distributed, officials said.