When to Use a Drone, Covert Pole Cam, and Telescopic Mast for Mobile Video Surveillance

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, officers can now get eyes in the sky to help them with surveillance. If you’re trying to collect video surveillance, a drone, a covert pole camera, or a telescopic mast may come in handy.

Read on to learn more about each of these tools and how you can use them to get better information and keep your officers and civilians 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 anytime 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 manage 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. Law enforcement should also collaborate with their community to establish a drone use policy that works best for everyone involved.

Basics of Covert Pole Cams

A covert pole camera is a camera mounted on the end of a long 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 standing up a pole and mounting cameras 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 most officers want the cameras mounted on these poles to be able to pan, tilt, and zoom 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.

Law enforcement, though, should be careful to only use these cameras when investigations necessitate it. 

Basic of Telescopic Masts

In situations where first responders need elevated surveillance with a much better field of view than drones, and a more powerful optical zoom capability, telescopic masts can help them get eyes in the sky in seconds. These portable masts can reach 30-50 feet, and they telescope down to a very portable size. You can mount different setups to 2×2″ hitch receivers, on trailers, on top of vehicles, and freestanding on the ground.

Once you have a telescopic mast set up, there are a variety of things you can mount on it. Cameras are one of the most popular options, with these masts providing law enforcement with fantastic long-range surveillance. Depending on the model, you may also be able to use these masts to get lights, 3D scanners, acoustic hailing devices, or speakers up high.

When to Use a Telescopic Mast

Factors such as deployment length, weather conditions, mission objective(s) and time of day help determine whether a telescopic mast or drone would be a better fit. A telescopic mast can help you keep an eye on a larger area no matter what conditions are like. 

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 police work, and tools like the ones we’ve discussed can give law enforcement agencies the information they need. A telescopic mast can stay operational a lot longer than drones can, drones can go where officers can’t, and a covert pole cam can gather evidence without tipping off suspects. 

If you’d like to find the best surveillance tools on the market, check out the rest of our site at TheRATT.com. 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 to get a quote on your mobile surveillance system.