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City Council Approves Purchase of $496,000 Police Helicopter Camera

Published on Thursday, October 19, 2023 | 5:44 am

The City Council unanimously approved the Pasadena Police Department’s request for purchase of a  high-tech camera for one of the city’s patrol helicopters.

The camera, which is a Wescam MX-10 camera, cost $496,000. 

The Police Department’s Air Operations Section acquired its first Wescam MX-10 camera in 2020. 

The Department said in its report for the Council  that the acquisition of another MX-10 camera will further efforts to standardize the fleet while minimizing the reliance on older, outdated systems. “This standardization enhances operability and situational awareness for the flight crews.”

Public commenter Yadi voiced her opposition to the purchase of the camera during Monday’s City Council meeting. 

 “I don’t support the purchase of this high-powered camera and also just generally having so many helicopters.” 

“Five helicopters for the city is extremely excessive. Long Beach, Sacramento and San Diego have two helicopters [while] San Jose and Sonoma share one helicopter.”

In response to the comment, Mark Mendenhall from the Air Operations Section said the city provides aerial responses not only to Pasadena but to the Foothill Air Support Team and two sister cities, Glendale and Burbank. 

This accounts for a coverage area of approximately 175 square miles between the 13 partner agencies. 

“Our service area is much bigger than Pasadena,” Councilmember Tyron Hampton said. “This camera allows our helicopter to fly higher which is great for neighbors and noise pollution.”

Mayor Victor Gordo remarked that the camera will assist officers in protecting the public by identifying individuals who may be out there in the neighborhood wanting to cause harm and warning the public about their whereabouts.

He added that the camera will also ensure that individuals will be brought into police custody in the safest manner possible.

Hampton and Councilmember Jess Rivas urged the unit to provide the community update about the Pasadena Police Air Operations Section and the city’s helicopter program at a future meeting so the community can be educated about these.

The funding for the purchase of the camera will be sourced from the grant funding obtained through the Urban Area Security Initiative.

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