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Council Approves New Pasadena PD Helicopter Camera for $420K Despite Community Opposition

Pasadena PD expects to have the new cameras installed this summer. – Courtesy photo / Pasadena PD

Pasadena’s Vice Mayor Tyron Hampton and Councilman Victor Gordo couldn’t dissuade remaining councilmembers from approving $420,000 for a “state of the art” surveillance camera for Pasadena Police Department’s air operations during Monday’s social-distanced council meeting.

Council authorized the purchase order with Wescam-USA for purchase of one MX-10 EO/IR camera system for a total of $420,000 pursuant to Pasadena Municipal Code Section 4.08.049(B), “Contracts for which the City’s best interests are served.”

Gordo and Hampton were not alone in saying the timing was bad to spend such a large amount of money.

“Pasadena’s priority should be finding solutions to families who are struggling to pay rent, find food and just survive this pandemic,” David Chavez told council.

Another resident, Mohammad Tajsar, an attorney for the ACLU, expressed serious concern about the expenditure. “At a time when our city needs to prioritize social services to poor and working class community members who are struggling, authorizing the purchase of a fancy aerial surveillance technology is a real slap in the face to Pasadena,” Tajsar said in an email comment.

Ed Washatka told council that he felt the expenditure timing was bad and Pasadena should delay approval as there are “those needs of greater public safety” during the pandemic.

Police Chief John Perez said Pasadena’s helicopters have four aging cameras currently and the air operations unit’s need for the new camera is of paramount safety to its officers on the ground.

Chief Perez said the maintenance cost will be $40,000 cost for each camera per year and plans for the installation to be sometime this summer.

Perez claimed the camera requested was not surveillance equipment. “Rotating cameras is critical to keep the public and officers safe…”

The installation cost of $180,000 will be paid for by FAST (Foothill Air Support Team) for which Pasadena helicopters provide assistance to local cities in time of need, Perez told council Monday.

Safety from above is critical to officers on the ground, Perez stated.

April 22, 2020

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tmiller Terry Miller has been in the newspaper business for 35 plus years, following in the footsteps of his father who was a Foreign Correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph when the family emigrated to New York from London abroad the Queen Mary. When not shooting pictures or chasing a breaking news story, Miller spends entirely too much time and effort with Little British Sports Cars...more like an addiction, his wife of 20 years says.


4 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Council Approves New Pasadena PD Helicopter Camera for $420K Despite Community Opposition”

  1. Ken Petty says:

    Terry, it was great working with you for many years when I worked for the Arcadia Recreation Dept. Thank you for all your support you gave to the City of Arcadia and surrounding Cities.

  2. This is an insane WASTE of money!!! Since 1909 there have only been 4 line-of-duty deaths of Pasadena police officers: one was hit by a train in 1909; another was a heart attack 2006; one gun fire in 1911; and the last one by gun fire in 1969, 50+ years ago. This camera could not have saved the officer hit by a train, or the officer who died from a heart attack. The gun fire instances were 50 to 100+ years ago! There is a higher chance of an officer dying from Covid 19, and that should be your focus along with the welfare of the community of Pasadena resulting from this pandemic. SHAME ON YOU for approving this ridiculous expenditure!!!!

  3. Richard Luczyski says:

    Just how good is the new camera for the Pasadena Helicopter? I think the helicopter service is quite valuable to the city as well as the region. What I’d like to know is the capabilities the camera has. Please tell us more about those capabilities. Maybe then the bad guy and all the other necessary uses of that camera will be understood by the community? I would hate to see that it had infra-red capabilities and the police copter pilots enjoyed looking into peoples houses day and night.

  4. Richard Luczyski says:

    What is the plan for reopening the city? I don’t think leadership could have a full proof plan when we continue to have more cases each day and we continue to empty the nursing homes that should be protecting their residents over these many months from any new cases.
    I must say that I have stayed at home most of the time but have ventured out for the needs of the household. I’ve been to all those essential businesses and the liquor stores very essential and I’ve used good sterile techniques with Masks and social distant efforts. Even walking in my district each day for a few miles. So I see that if I can be as safe going to stores and into the community. Why shouldn’t we try different solutions to bring back the small businesses with the care we already are aware of. Those larger gathering events represent a greater risk to the whole community. So we need to see the results of the smaller businesses efforts to keep us safe and then slowly when conditions are known re introduce
    larger events but not all at once. Maybe that could be a plan that many have thought about. Let’s not put our old businesses out of business.

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