Sheriff’s Department Outfitting Helicopters With Video Broadcasters

Following the city of Ontario’s lead, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is in the process of equipping its helicopter with video broadcasting devices to allow ground-based responders in emergency situations the ability to visualize the lay of the land and circumstances at the scene of accidents, crimes or life-threatening incidents.
The board of supervisors this week gave the sheriff’s department authorization to purchase $713,702 worth of video and broadcasting equipment.
According to sheriff’s captain Greg Garland, the spending authorization “will allow the sheriff’s department to purchase and install equipment on aircraft for the transmission of high definition and standard definition video to both fixed and portable receivers. The downlink system provides crucial real-time video to the fixed/mobile sites and first responders, via airborne helicopter units, enabling the best allocation of resources and the sharing of life-saving information during critical incidents.”
Garland said the city of Ontario, which operates two helicopters based at Ontario Airport to assist it police and fire departments, has applied the system with success.
“In November of 2010, the city of Ontario, after completing a request for proposal process, approved an agreement with Helinet Technologies for an integrated airborne, digital video downlink system,” Garland said. “The system was funded by the Department of Homeland Security Urban Areas Security Initiative under the Regional Aviation Downlink Project. The Regional Aviation Downlink Project included the city of Ontario Police Department, serving as the lead agency, San Bernardino County sheriff’s department, Riverside city police department, and the Riverside County sheriff’s department. As part of the Regional Aviation Downlink Project, the department received airborne  transmitters installed on two aircraft and portable/stationary receiving systems funded by the  Department of Homeland Security Urban Areas Security Initiative.”
Based on the performance of the program in Ontario, Garland said the department asked the board of supervisors for the $713,702 to buy equipment from  Helinet Technologies to outfit four of the sheriff’s department’s helicopters.
“The downlink equipment will be installed on the department’s four remaining helicopters and the receivers will be placed at additional locations,” Garland said. “The Helinet Technologies purchase is non-competitive due to the existing equipment and system compatibility requirements of the participating agencies.”

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