Old 07-13-07, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by trackhub
Just one question,,

Anyone know what it costs per hour to operate a police helicopter? No really, does anyone know?

This is amazing. I'm not a supporter of CM, for all the aforementioned reasons. But, I suppose the use of helicopters against bicyclists is next on the NYPD's "to do list".
Actually, it's been done. To death. In fact in 04, at the pre-RNC CM, the helicops were so busy protecting our freedoms that they forgot it wasn't cool to use their super expensive IR equipment to peep on frolicking rooftop lovers on a private terrace:


Police Video Caught a Couple's Intimate Moment on a Manhattan Rooftop

A man and woman who shared an intimate moment on a secluded, dark rooftop one August night last year have learned that they were secretly watched, an intrusion made possible by increased police surveillance of protest rallies and other events and also by advanced technology intended to fight terrorists.

That night, police officers tracked bicycle riders moving through the streets of the Lower East Side from a custom-built, $9.8 million helicopter equipped with optical equipment able to display a license plate 1,000 feet away.

With the night vision of the helicopter's camera, and permission to make videotapes, an officer also recorded nearly four minutes of the couple on the terrace of a Second Avenue penthouse.

"When you watch the tape, it makes you feel kind of ill," said Jeffrey Rosner, 51, one of the two people. "I had no idea they were filming me - who would ever have an idea like that?"

The tape, broadcast earlier this year by WCBS-TV news, was made on Aug. 27, 2004, just before the Republican National Convention. That night, several thousand bicycle riders arrived for a group ride that did not have a permit.

The helicopter followed the riders but turned the camera on the couple. High above Second Avenue, they seemed to be shielded from view by a wall of shrubs and the nearly total darkness. The police camera, however, included special thermal-imaging equipment that yielded distinct, if ghostly, images.

Mr. Rosner, a music business executive who owns the penthouse, said he remembered a police helicopter hovering overhead, which he assumed was only monitoring the throng of bicycle riders below.

"I'm very happy about cameras in public spaces," Mr. Rosner said. "If you're in a public space doing something inappropriate, I'm all for that. But if I'm in my house and you're using multimillion-dollar equipment to film me, not at all."

Eileen Clancy, a forensic video analyst, observed that the scene was disclosed only because the same tape included images from the mass bicycle ride and had to be turned over for the trial of a rider.

Mr. Rosner has filed a complaint with the Police Department through his lawyer.

Asked about the incident, Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the department, said: "Aviation routinely checks and sometimes videotapes rooftop activity when someone's in a position to throw projectiles at officers below. In this instance, the officer was instructed afterward to terminate taping once it was determined a threat did not exist."

Mr. Rosner said the woman on the roof with him did not want to be identified or discuss the events. He said he was relieved the tape did not include even more personal moments.

"I am usually in favor of surveillance," Mr. Rosner said. The issue, he said, is "more the sensibility that the police think it's O.K. that they do that - it's about their own professionalism."
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