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Quick-deploy camera tower combines best of drones and conventional trailers

Quick-deploy camera tower combines best of drones and conventional trailers

By Police1 Staff

Live streaming video cameras have become essential tools for law enforcement. Being able to see what’s happening on an incident scene in real-time empowers commanders to make the right strategic and tactical decisions, while tracking the locations of their officers and maximizing their safety — and the safety of the public.

These days, police attain this visual situational awareness either by using drones or camera masts on large deployable trailers. Both options work, but each has shortcomings that can result in coverage gaps at critical times. That’s why the Rapid All-Terrain Tower vehicle mast — The RATT — was created to bridge these gaps and ensure constant video surveillance.

What the RATT is

The RATT is a telescopic hitch-mounted vehicle mast that connects to just about any vehicle with a Class III 2×2″ hitch receiver that can go anywhere that a police department needs to go. In under five minutes, a vehicle with a hitch-mounted RATT can safely deploy a surveillance camera, antenna and many other devices over 25 feet.

This hitch-mounted mobile tower system is available in three sizes (20’/27’/30’) and multiple colors (silver/black or custom). The tower can accommodate a wide range of TAA/NDAA-Compliant ONVIF surveillance cameras, P25/DMR/Amateur radio antennas, cellular signal boosters, outdoor Wi-Fi access points, wireless broadband devices and weather station equipment.

As for power? “We designed The RATT so that it can be plugged into a vehicle’s 12v DC cigarette lighter, or the 7-way trailer power plug on the back of the vehicle,” says Mark Dorn, The RATT’s Head of Development. “Long story short: We’ve brought to market a quick pop-up tower that weighs just over a hundred pounds, that goes over 25 feet in a couple of minutes, can be put on a hitch, is powered without requiring any new wiring, and is super simple for a law enforcement agency to deploy using a single person.”

RATT advantages

As mentioned above, The RATT is designed to bridge the gap between drones and conventional camera trailers.

Now drones are great for quick-deploy situations, but they require a separate officer to fly them at all times; an officer who has to be trained and FAA-approved as a pilot. Drones also run batteries, and batteries run out of power fast. “So if you’re providing security at an outdoor event that lasts four to five hours, you’re going to have to change batteries frequently,” says Dorn. “Each time you do requires landing the drone to do the swap, depriving you of visual surveillance capability during that time. Now you could always fly a second drone to cover that gap, but that means assigning a second officer pilot to the scene. In contrast, you could use a RATT and a single officer to cover the event, and never have coverage gaps.”

Meanwhile, conventional camera trailers are big, bulky, and can’t be powered by a cigarette lighter. They have to be hauled to and from the location, using their own power supplies (solar, battery, plug in, or generator), and take time to set up and take down by officers who are trained to do so.

“The RATT primarily competes with camera trailers that require a lot of maintenance — tires, batteries and generator — easily take over 20 minutes to deploy, normally require two people to set up/deploy after extensive training and requires someone with trailering experience to bring it to an incident or event,” Dorn says. “Whereas The RATT doesn’t require much maintenance, has solid wheels, uses the vehicle’s power accessory, deploys on any vehicle with a 2×2″ hitch receiver, achieves total deployment in less than 10 minutes, and only one person is required to make it happen.”

The bottom line

The RATT is the go-to solution for police departments who want to bridge the gap between drones and conventional camera trailers for on-scene video surveillance or are new to this field and are seeking a product that can do the job affordably and effectively. Learn more about The RATT here.

The article was first published here

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