Towers Will Help Deputies Curb Crime At The Tulsa State Fair

Wednesday, September 28th 2011, 5:07 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa County Sheriff's Deputies have a new tool to help keep you safer at the fair this year. They're using hydraulic towers to get a 360-degree, bird's eye view of everything and everyone on the midway.

Setting up the 4,500 pound observation tower is as easy as getting the out riggings firmly on the ground. Then, it's just a matter of firing it up and going up 25 feet in the air.

The towers came from the Border Patrol who decided to phase them out and sell them to law enforcement agencies at surplus prices.

So, rather than paying $95,000 for them new, Tulsa County got them for $25,000 and will have two on the midway during the fair.

"Basically, we've got a high ground advantage. We can see if any trouble is breaking out. They can radio officers on the ground directly to that as opposed to waiting for somebody to give us a call," said Tulsa County Deputy Chief Rick Weigel.

Not only are the towers air conditioned and heated, they have bullet proof sides and glass, and are much more stable than the deer stands deputies used to use.

The towers provide a better view and can't be knocked over by the crowd. Oklahoma City used them at this year's fair with great success.

"They used this in their parking lots and from the reports they received, Oklahoma City PD says burglary from vehicle reports were down 80 percent over last year," Weigel said.

The tower is outfitted with cameras than can shoot video 360 degrees and can record for days on end. The cameras record even when the tower is unmanned and deputies can access those video feeds from their fair headquarters, hundreds of yards away.

Deputies say they could also use the towers for a manhunt in rural areas, when they need a high ground advantage. The towers are self-contained with their own generators and can operate around the clock for 15 days.