SDPD Tests Mobile Tower Vehicle In Ocean Beach

Police Hope To Have Mobile Utility Surveillance Tower Ready By End Of Year

San Diego police will be rolling out a new tool that will give officers increased visibility while patrolling local neighborhoods.

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The Mobile Utility Surveillance Tower (MUST) vehicle looks like a regular van, but tucked inside is an observation tower that rises 25 feet.

"An elevated observation platform or a pod rises up out of the van and then you've got a 360-degree view of what's going on around you," said San Diego police Lt. Andra Brown. "You've got elevated eyes for command and control at any sort of scene whether it's a crime scene [or] a disaster."

San Diego police used grant money for the $200,000 vehicle and will share it with other agencies in the region. On Tuesday, they tested it in Ocean Beach.

"San Diego is a coastal community," said Brown. "We have to know that if it's a piece of equipment that can be utilized everywhere… that it can be used on the beach."

The MUST operates on a lithium ion battery and can sustain winds of up to 40 miles an hour.

It does not need a trailer to be towed and only needs one person to set it up.

"The beauty of the new Terra Hawk piece of equipment is that from the time you park it, it's up and deployed in two or three minutes," said Brown.

Police hope to have the MUST ready to go before the end of the year.

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