MBPD debuts Skywatch to help monitor crowds - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

MBPD debuts Skywatch to help monitor crowds

Two officers go up in the skywatch at a time and can cover the ground of 10 officers. (Source: Lisa Gresci) Two officers go up in the skywatch at a time and can cover the ground of 10 officers. (Source: Lisa Gresci)
The skywatch lifts officers up to 25 feet into the air. Police say it's a helpful tool to have when it comes to big crowds. (Source: Lisa Gresci) The skywatch lifts officers up to 25 feet into the air. Police say it's a helpful tool to have when it comes to big crowds. (Source: Lisa Gresci)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach Police showcased their newest piece of equipment at Friday night's Beach, Boogie, and BBQ festival.

They said it is going to keep people safe in big crowds that would usually be hard to patrol.

Police came down a few times to answer some questions and the feedback is positive especially from parents and venders.

The skywatch lifts officers up to 25 feet into the air. Police say it's a helpful tool to have when it comes to big crowds.

They said the Beach, Boogie, and BBQ festival brings in thousands of people and the majority are families with small children.

"You know everybody gets in a shuffle, anything can happen. They can go in to another area here," said Mae Bigham, parent of two children.

Bigham feels better knowing officers could help find children that stray from their parents.

Venders here set up camp for the next couple of days and say with the police skywatch nearby they too feel more secure.

"It makes me feel more comfortable helping somebody knowing if I have my back turned in my area and somebody would take something... it would make me feel better to know they could pick them up," said local vender, Rena Grant. 

Throughout the event, many people stopped, pointed, and questioned what the skywatch was.

Scott Graham is a police officer visiting from North Carolina.

"It's brand new so it just caught my attention. I've been a law enforcement officer for 23 years and I've never seen anything like that before," Graham said.

Graham plans to bring the idea to his sergeant back home.

"It's a benefit to be able to see out and be able to assist such a large group of people," Graham added.

Two officers go up in the skywatch at a time and can cover the ground of 10 officers.

Police said they are able to see out into street with the skywatch and can even make out faces and license plates. They say the skywatch's cameras will be running 24/7.

Many believe having the police up there makes them feel they can spend more time enjoying the event.

"It's like going to the beach you know. You've got the lifeguards and now you've got the police guarding you," Mae Bigham said.

Police said the skywatch's debut is going well and they will be running it throughout the event this weekend.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved. 

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