Public Safety Officials Show Off New Tool for Chesney Crowd Control

Mobil Surveillance Tower Stationed Outside Heinz Field

Joe DeStio
June 01, 2018 - 1:40 pm

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) – Pittsburgh Public Safety officials are showing off a new tool to be used for crowd control and parking lot surveillance at Saturday’s Kenny Chesney concert at Heinz Field and other large events. It’s a mobile surveillance tower manufactured by FLIR Skywatch. The company agreed to donate the $150,000 unit as a demonstration project this weekend. The cabin takes one or two officers nearly 30 feet in the air for a bird’s-eye view of the crowd.

“With special events we have observers in high vantage points. This provides the high vantage point when we don’t have a structure to facilitate that,” said Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich.

The unit outside Heinz Field is equipped with two cameras, one of which can pan and zoom in to see small details. It also has flood lights and a public address system.

FLIR Skywatch Sales Director Howard Schemer says the units are used by police departments in many large cities for crowd control. “ The other application is parking lot surveillance and deterrence. Because you’re watching over the cars, perpetrators see you which is a good thing and operates as a deterrent,” says Schemer.

Officials from Allegheny County, Heinz Field, PNC Park, and the University of Pittsburgh were among those looking over the unit. Hissrich hopes if they like it this weekend several entities might combine to purchase one for the Pittsburgh area.