Fighting crime from the air: City announces new aerial surveillance system

Representative installation of LEAPS. Photo provided by City of Lancaster.

LANCASTER – In a press release issued Friday, the City announced plans to launch an aerial law enforcement surveillance system that could be deployed by early Spring of 2012. The matter will go before the City Council Tuesday.

“For a while now, we have been pursuing development and deployment of an effective, robust and affordable aerial surveillance system for use by our Lancaster Sheriff’s Station,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris.  “Now, thanks to Aero View, our Sheriff’s Department will have access to a system which enables them to be more proactive and responsive to law enforcement needs throughout our entire City.”

The Lancaster-based firm, Aero View, LLC created the Law Enforcement Aerial Platform System (LEAPS), which couples a Cessna 172 with optical equipment, into a system developed and engineered by Spiral Technology, Inc.

LEAPS is billed as a low maintenance, fuel-efficient, low noise product, which will be fueled, maintained, and hangared at Fox Field in Lancaster.

“With Aero View LLC and Spiral Technology, Inc. being headquartered here in Lancaster, the Antelope Valley will reap the benefits of both significant economic activity and jobs,” stated Mayor Parris. “This is exactly the type of boost we need to our local economy.”

The value of the system components, including the plane and optical equipment, is estimated at $1.3 Million, and will become City assets.

However, no operational funding will be required in Fiscal Year 2011-2012, because the first 12 months of service and operations of LEAPS are at no cost to the City as part of the Acquisition and Management Agreement between the City of Lancaster and Aero View LLC, which will be considered by the City Council Tuesday.

“When we met with the City and Sheriff’s Department, we wanted to come away with a thorough understanding of the needs in this community, and find a way to meet them within pre-defined budget constraints,” said Aero View President Steve Mc Carter. “We have successfully accomplished this with LEAPS.”

Lancaster Sheriff’s Station Captain Bob Jonsen says the capabilities of LEAPS will enable law enforcement teams to be more effective in fighting crime in Lancaster.

“From a public safety perspective, LEAPS can follow a criminal target via visual movement at altitudes ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 feet above ground level, while using both visible and infrared images for tracking,” said Jonsen.  “It is an effective and economical resource, offering superior surveillance, patrol and investigative capabilities.”

The system will follow existing law enforcement and citizen privacy protocol, as already established by the Sheriff’s Department.  The Sheriff’s Department will have complete control over the data, surveillance and operation of the Law Enforcement Aerial Platform System, and only assigned LASD personnel will be privy to the information and video transmitted from the aircraft. The imagery recorded by the system will be encrypted and fed directly to the Sheriff’s station, not being viewed or retained at any point by the aircraft, the pilot, or the City in order to ensure that citizen privacy rights are protected.

Additionally, LEAPS will allow the Sheriff’s Department to quickly access up to two years worth of video data.

“Public safety has always been priority number one for this Council,” said Parris.  “We have worked closely with the Sheriff’s Department over the past four years to ensure we do everything to stomp out crime.  Now, the Sheriff’s Department will have an aerial advantage to add to their arsenal.”

The City of Lancaster’s contractual arrangement with Aero View LLC commits future business development, design, acquisition, manufacture, assembly, sales and service operations to occur in Lancaster for a period of 10 years from the date of execution of the Agreement.

Upon approval from the Lancaster City Council, implementation of the City of Lancaster/Aero View LLC agreement will begin, and the first LEAPS model will be developed and deployed in Lancaster in early Spring of 2012.

Parris and representatives from Aero View, LLC will present details of the aerial public safety surveillance system during a special presentation at the next City Council meeting at 5 p.m., Tuesday, November 8th at Lancaster City Hall. Approval of the Acquisition and Management Agreement between the City and Aero View, LLC will be recommended to the Lancaster City Council following the presentation.

  29 comments for “Fighting crime from the air: City announces new aerial surveillance system

  1. Eric Moore
    November 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    this guy Akia, is selling what? a simenar, please, sorry buddy, no time for you.

    • Abdul Majeed Askia
      December 6, 2011 at 9:29 am

      There are some people when they see a person down, they will try
      to lift them up, and there are others who will walk all over them!
      I see human beings regardless of their station/position in life.
      My first impluse is,how can I help,not how can I keep you down! If
      we look for the positive we will find it. If all we focus on is
      negativity we will find it as well.When it comes to service I think
      people first,not the almighty dollar.My passion is to serve and if you
      search the web and the Antelope Valley Press,Daily News,Los Angeless
      Times,Progression Magazine and The AV Times you will find decades
      of dedication !I love to serve and help as best I can however little
      or small that might be. Jesus said I came into the world to serve
      and not be served. Prophet Muhammad said there is no price for revelation ! I realize the whole world contradicts the above! The almighty dollar is the driving force for many and love,faith or good
      will. In many cases I dedpended on the good will of people after
      traveling hundreds of miles to serve and unfortunately for some “All
      they could think of was the almighty dollar.” I have been through a
      lot of what people are going through thats why I can identify with
      them and offer solutions! Is it wrong to serve ? I’m I wrong for
      striving to do the right thing ? I got staying power,faith.

  2. November 8, 2011 at 10:25 am

    To address the heart of crime is to address morality,poverty,employment,
    spirituality,illiteracy,community/human relations,confusion,frustrations
    and a host of internal issues! Police jails and prisons is the aftermath,
    the end result! To stop crime in its tracks is mind thing ! Change the thinking and you change the individual! Change the economic plight and you
    you change the circumstances. Unless we address the social ills we are only scatching the surface and will never be able to build enough jails to
    combat dispair,dissatisfaction and a loss of purpose !The churches,mosque,
    sysnagogues,temples and centers can channel their talks to deal with reality and the everyday challenges of life as opposed to the sweet bye and bye message ! And of course there is an obssession with the end of the world message! How about save the world ? How about change the world ?
    How about making all things new and old things passing away ? How about
    focusing on the positive as opposed to drowning in negativity both from
    the pulpit and the media ! How about what we can do collectively to change
    and make life better ? Lets connect on the positive note. As a public
    speaker for decades my goal is to overcome,rise above negativity to inspire,motivate,educate and encourage others and to better myself. I’ve
    had my challeges-we all do-the idea is to never settle for less or give
    up on life always striving for the best in self ! My email is and my phone is 323-9459589 to attend your seminar,
    church,mosque,sysnagoguge,center or group and share in the message of
    overcoming! Google my name Abdul Majeed Askia to get some history so that
    you can see I have truly overcome some tremendous challeges ! Never giving
    up and never giving in to negative criticism or self destrcutive criticism
    no matter whom or where it is coming from ! Reach for the good and strive
    for the best no matter the odds and no matter the challenge! Fight crime
    with wisdom,knowledge,faith,encouragement and good will. The law,jails and
    prisons is not the ultimate answer! public speaker AbdulMajeed Askia

    • Marianne McCourt
      November 9, 2011 at 3:19 pm

      Mr. Askia,

      You offer all of these solutions to crime which evolve around money. Statements such as “change the economic plight…” are dead ringers for more money being extorted from the already burdened taxpayer to support more social programs! We have spent billions upon billions of dollars to alleviate black poverty hoping that we can also have the effect of lowering the crime rate and where has this gotten us? After all of this spending under the name of Johnson’s “War on Poverty” The black crime rate is worse now than ever before….The more money we pour into the black community the worse off it seems to get. Now when I lived and worked in Alameda County where Oakland is located, I saw Asian families, none of which used any public assistance, spending their spare hours studying in the public libraries, spending after school time in churches where moms supervised study time, foregoing the latest fashions and clothes so that their kids could have notebooks, laptop computers and other school supplies….I saw none of this in the black community! Churches are closed except on Sunday. No black children with their parents in the libraries, but plenty of them at the malls to spend their money on new shoes, new phones, jewelry, make up, hair products. If you want to fix crime and poverty in the black community then fix it from within! STOP degrading black women, STOP calling them “baby mamas” and “hos”, STOP abandoning them when they get pregnant, STOP creating fatherless homes because you dont want the responsibility, STOP inventing reasons not to work and be a provider, STOP feeding into and promoting a culture of gangs and thuggery! STOP telling members of your race that wanting to learn and do well in life is “acting white”! Grow up and be MEN and take responsibility and take care of business! All of the money and resources in the world aren’t going to fix your problems. Only YOU can! If you are such an esteemed lecturer then you need to take that drive into your own community and channel it there! Quit lecturing those of us who work for a living and pay taxes on how we need to pour more money into a social sinkhole….If the Antelope Valley didn’t have a crime problem and had more people looking inward to find solutions, things like this stupid “Eye In The Sky” would not even be necessary and we could spend the resources on something better.

      • S. Parker
        November 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm

        VERY WELL SAID! I agree 100%!!!

      • Stinger
        November 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm

        First off, this stupid ‘eye in the sky’ is NOT necessary.

        Second off, its not how much money you spend to fix a problem, it’s HOW you spend it that matters.

        Now then… I tend to agree with you that many of the problems in the black community are culturally based and that it will take a change in that culture in general for things to change for that ethnic group for the positive. I also tend to agree with you that the majority of problems that you pointed out within siad culture. I further agree with you that the money being spent on this is not being as effective as it could/should be.

        We part ways, though, on whether the concept of social programs is bad. I believe that they are not bad, in and of themselves, but rather that they are being improperly focused by our idiotic elected representatives political views who have no real clue what the hell they are doing, or should be doing, with the money! If the money being spent on social programs were better directed into programs that are not as politically accepted, but sociologically and criminologically sound, we would see the results that would convince you (and others) that this money is not a waste of an idea, but a sound investment in reducing poverty and crime.

        Of course, for that to happen, people will have to get out of their pigeonholed political mindsets and let the scientific facts surrounding the issues speak for themselves! Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen.

      • Abdul Majeed Askia
        November 10, 2011 at 8:39 am

        Sir, there are approximately seven billion people in the world and they don’t all think alike,dress alike and/or view life from
        the same perspective.In our land ‘America’ there are over three
        hundred million people from every walk of life,culture,ethnic
        group,philosophy,religion and political group. Life (awareness)
        has taught me to never generalize and lump people into a
        particular category ! All hispanics,caucasions,Indians,africans
        and various other etnicities don’t all dress alike ! There are
        thirityfive million African Americans in this country for which
        over thirtyfour and half million don’t fit the dress style you described. I would never seek to deam a people with ridicule,sarcasm,acrimony and ill feelings just to express a point. I have literally interacted with people from all over the
        world and to me people are just people with the exception that in
        every enthic group you have sane and insane ! You have people who
        are rational and irrational !Crimes are committed by every race or ethnic group on this planet whether those crimes are committed
        on paper (gagantic lies) deception,embezzlement or monoply.People
        of ill will via arrogance and greed take pleasure in towering
        over others !!! I will not dare insult anyone’s human worth,sense
        of dignity and pride based on color ! It is no way on this planet
        will I single out Asians,hispanics or any other group condenm millions of people based on the pigmentation of their skin ! Any
        of us can pick and choose what we would like to focus on to put
        others down. That is not a wise or prudent things to do. Our education should have equipped us to realize there is brilliance
        in all people on one level or another.Healthy minded people recognize other healthy minded people! People with self esteem,
        personhood, self identity,,self awareness, healthy sense of pride
        and a sense of belonging don’t strive to make others their door
        mat and/or approach people with a ‘big ‘I’ little you mentality.
        As Micheal Jackson would put it ” If you want to make the world
        a better place take a look in the mirror and make the change!” Alcoholism,drug addiction,gambling addiction,smoking
        addiction,gangs,crime and poverty all cross racial and cultural lines! Why can’t we address the human condition without being limited to color coded terms as if corruption is only confined
        to a particular shade of people ! I am a human being,a person,
        an American, aperson of faith, and African American that feels
        absolutely good/proud about being black! I am moreso ahuman being
        without all the adjectives Unfortunately it serves some individuals
        ends to divide,to give them that sense of being better than everybody else you’see’we are not like those people! Teaching
        our children to be hate mongers, to look down on other people!
        I don’t need to put you down in order to feel good about myself !

      • Abdul Majeed Askia
        November 10, 2011 at 11:25 am

        A blind person can see criminals come in all walks of life ! Every etnic group, every shade or color and evry eocnomic status
        rich and poor people are committing crimes against humanity ! And
        in every religion there are people doing lunatic things under
        the cover of religion and/or God told me so.In fact some physically blind people see better spiritually than with people
        with physical site ! Stevey Wonders lyrics are color blind and
        they have inspired man arounjd the world;however, many with physical site have been blinded by the light ! They see everything in color coded terms ! In fact they can’t even hear
        you unless someone of their particular complexion conveys the message. That is narrow minded,short sighted,limited vision and
        looking at the world through rose colored glasses. Take alook in the jails,prisons,youth facilities,corrupt movies,games,and magazines and you will see people of evey back ground crossing
        racial and etnhnic lines on both sides of the fence!A lie is
        a lie and a bully is abully no matter what his or her color is !
        There is no such thing as a perfect race Hitler was stopped in
        his tracks with that one!Corruption is not black,brown,red,white
        or yellow,corruption is corruption which has at one time or another been revealed/discovered on all levels of society. In fact the greater crimes against humanity has been committed by nations and people who abuse their authority! Genocides,injustice
        and oppression has occured by people in power who abuse their discretion. And of course there is street crime which is against
        the law in any nation. Thus, lets keep it real and not make make blanket indictments against entire ethnic groups!As a public speaker my desire and intentions is to see all people rise above
        petty mindedness,racial hatred,and all the social ills that
        hamper our growth and development. Public speaker Abdul Majeed Askia,palmdale Ca.

  3. Marissa
    November 8, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Rex Parris is absolute slime in a $300 suit. As someone who spent many years in the Insurance industry, every time I hear her version of “insurance fraud” on the radio, I just want to puke.
    As a Libertarian, maybe even an ULTRA Libertarian, this “eye in the sky” junk just makes me want to sell my house and move to Palmdale. What ever happened to the Constitution? Did they suspend it in Lancaster?
    Tyrants throughout history have used “law and order” platforms to control their people, and that is what this ugly little man is doing here. If you don’t agree, well, of course, you’re just a criminal, or someone who loves criminals.
    Don’t know how many of you are paying attention to world events, but all over the middle east, people are fighting for freedom. They are fighting revolutions, overthrowing governments, all for Democracy. Their governments, in using extreme force against protestors, labels them agitators, criminals, thugs, all to justify holding on to power at the expense of people’s rights.
    R. Rex Parris is a bully and a thug with a God complex who already uses the LA County Sheriffs Department in Lancaster as his personal police force to go after people who he doesn’t like. It won’t be long until his “eye” in the sky is used to spy on his perceived opponents.

    • Jo
      November 8, 2011 at 11:13 am

      Moving to Palmdale won’t help, as this spy plane will cover the whole valley. Just think, a man you weren’t allowed to vote for WILL be destroying your 4th amendment rights!

  4. Anon
    November 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Why Rex’s Eye in the Sky will fail miserably:

    Let me get this straight….If I read this article correctly, a camera controlled by deputies from the ground….attached to a moving fixed wing aircraft that can safely fly no slower than about 65 mph and certainly can’t hover in place…..with no one on board having any law enforcement background and/or able to see images from the camera to assist in aircraft positioning….and with a camera that can only see images from 180 degrees or so of field view (due to the aircraft itself blocking out the rest)…There’s a recipe for frustration if I ever saw one. To capture even a stationary target for a significant amount of time will take incredible piloting skills and constant ground communication from those operating the camera. A moving vehicle or a bad guy jumping fences? Good luck getting anything usable to pass on to the ground troops! Will be nothing but an expensive aerial photography show.

    If they had any sense, they would scrub this whole non-sensical camera idea and use the same airplane with qualified volunteer pilots and Deputy observers to back up the Sheriff’s helicopters during times they are off duty.

    The whole purpose of having law enforcement assets in the air is to help those officers on the ground at police calls and to be overhead during crimes in progress or crimes that just occurred.

    Even with all the best intentions in the world, there is absolutely no way an officer sitting in the station at a video monitor is going to do or say anything worthwhile to help ground troops as they chase bad guys and vehicles who are running away. That takes human “eyes on”. A camera view or anything less than that is pure wishful thinking. I’m amazed the LASD officials did not relay this to Rex before he committed over a million dollars of taxpayer money to this.

    Other than that, this whole idea is simply a camera surveillance platform, watching to catch that “crime in progress” before it happens. Have you ever tried to predict where that fish is going to jump out of the water? Good luck with that.

    Perhaps the expensive camera will find a niche monitoring traffic jams at the scene of stationary traffic accidents, just like it did when they first tried to “wow” everybody with Dick Rutan….oops, I forgot they already have cameras for that.

    I sure wish someone would read this at the city council meeting Tuesday to try to bring some sanity to this decision….but they’d probably end up in jail…

    • Anon
      November 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm

      BTW…That is a 1960’s vintage Cessna 172 in the photo…at least a 45 year old airplane. You would think a $1.3 million price tag might come with a little later model?? Just food for thought….and something else that should be brought up at the city council meeting.

      • Eric Moore
        November 6, 2011 at 9:34 am

        It will also cost $90,000.00 a month to operate, acording to the AV press, they also reported the Lancaster Mayor saying that only criminals and ultra liberals would opposed his new venture….so, Anon wich one are you?

        • Anon
          November 6, 2011 at 9:55 am

          I’m neither of those. But does anyone else see a problem with $90,000 per month? Ask anyone who knows aviation. A Cessna 172 costs at the extreme about $100 per hour to operate. 100 hours aloft per month is $10,000, and that’s a whole lot of flying for a single plane and not a fleet (no back-up plane). Throw in a pilot salary and a deputy salary to view the camera. Let’s be over-generous and call those $15,000 per month. Administrative, equipment purchase and other operating costs? Let’s be extreme again and call those $5000 per month. Hey folks, I’m only up to $30,000, a third of $90,000!! Where’s the rest of the money going?? It’s taxpayer money!!

          • Anon
            November 6, 2011 at 10:58 am

            Why don’t you recalculate based on the over 300 hours per month this thing is supposed to fly, instead of 100.

        • Palmdale_Steve
          November 6, 2011 at 12:25 pm

          Valuable tool!

          This airplane will allow the powers that be to have people “KEEP OFF MY LAWN”!

          • Eric Moore
            November 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm

            Are they also flying in Palmdale? do we in Palmdale have to get up set with Mayor Ledford, or is this Lancaster’s problem to enjoy? I am not clear on that…

        • Palmdale_Steve
          November 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm

          You forgot one thing, it will be towing a banner

          R Rex Paris…..Attorneys

          Big Bucks I tell you big bucks.

          • William
            November 6, 2011 at 11:13 pm

            His name is plastered all over this valley like graffiti or tom cat spray. I would prefer either of the latter two to being reminded of Parris.

  5. Michael Hinckley
    November 5, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Yeah, Let’s waste more money in Lancaster on some guy flying around taking photos. Why don’t you spend the money on fixing these messed up roads!

  6. Eric Moore
    November 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    All I want to know is this; does Palmdale get to use Rex’es toy? You guys in Lancaster voted for him, if you vote for him again, then you deserve it, just think they will be able to tell how long and often you have sex with their infrared image and keep 2 years record of the hole thing,and oops freedom of information will allow them to put it out there, Invation of privacy at it’s worst and there’s nothing you can do about it, if you complain you just may find yourself in LA county jail, yeap, nothing to do about it.

  7. Maureen (formally known as sea hag)
    November 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    And remember Stinger, rex defended a couple of CHP dispatchers who leaked pictures of a horrific accident that left a young girl decapitated. The family was forced to see their beautiful daughter decapitated, as sick people took the leaked pictures, and continually sent them to her siblings on the net.

    rex has learned it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.

    “In California, though, the case established little legal precedent. In March 2008, it was dismissed by a superior-court judge, who ruled that while the dispatchers’ conduct was “utterly reprehensible,” it hadn’t violated the law. “No duty exists between the surviving family and defendant,” the opinion reads, because privacy rights don’t extend to the dead. “It’s an unfortunate situation, and our heart goes out to the family,” says R. Rex Parris, the attorney representing O’Donnell. “But this is America, and there’s a freedom of information.”

    • Maureen (formally known as sea hag)
      November 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm

      So when rex releases pictures of you picking your nose, to the amusement of your neighbors and co-workers, he can call it freedom of information!

      • Stinger
        November 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm

        Yes, but if you dare to say anything that he, or his cronies, don’t like at a public meeting – watch out!

        Seems that ‘freedom’ in Lancaster depends upon if the Kaiser approves of what you have to say.

    • William
      November 4, 2011 at 11:02 pm

      I never heard of that before. What a disgusting human being Parris is. ‘Freedom of information’, he says, while pulling the mic on people’s comments at the council meetings. He should run for president in the republican party. He represents them perfectly.

  8. Stinger
    November 4, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Wonder what happened to Rex’s ill-advised “Eye in the Sky”…

    Y’know, I’d actually be happy about this – if it weren’t for the fact that this is being introduced by one of the most corrupt politicians that has walked the planet Earth in modern days, who has no problem with the violation of civil rights against anybody who simply disagrees with him, and can’t be trusted to keep out of everyday law enforcement affairs – thereby corrupting even the local Sheriff’s station command personnel with his putrid presence into committing illegal acts against the local citizenry.

    • William
      November 4, 2011 at 11:03 pm

      Parris doesn’t deserve that comment. You’ve shoulda added more as he deserves much more.

Comments are closed.