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Law Enforcement Aerial Platform System (LEAPS) Instrumental in Capture of Suspect in Dangerous Vehicle Pursuit through Lancaster

Post Date:05/18/2017

Today, City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris commended Lancaster Sheriff Station personnel, as well as the station’s Law Enforcement Aerial Platform System (LEAPS), for safely apprehending a suspect whom had been driving very dangerously through the City this past Tuesday. 

“Thankfully, there were no injuries or vehicle collisions as a result of this pursuit through our city,” said City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “The responding deputies did a magnificent job of instinctively knowing when to terminate ground pursuit of this dangerous suspect, all the while being confident that they still had aerial surveillance being provided by the LEAPS system.”

The erratic chase involved several high-risk scenarios, which endangered other motorists, including the deputies in vehicle pursuit of the suspect. The suspect’s hazardous behaviors included swerving between lanes on the 14 freeway at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour; driving in the opposite direction of freeway traffic; maneuvering recklessly through street traffic, including running multiple red lights; as well as a number of other traffic violations prior to and during the actual pursuit.

In consideration of the high level of risk to other motorists, the Lancaster Sheriff deputies involved made numerous calculated decisions to fall back with their vehicle pursuits and engage the LEAPS tool to maintain aerial surveillance of the suspect until it was safe to resume ground pursuit. As a result, the Sheriffs never lost sight of and were ultimately able to apprehend the suspect, without injuries or vehicle collisions.

“The LEAPS system was extremely instrumental in the safe apprehension of this suspect,” said Captain Todd Weber of the Lancaster Sheriff Station. “Being able to continuously have our eyes on the suspect allowed our deputies the confidence that they could put resident’s safety first and still be able to capture the suspect.”

The Law Enforcement Aerial Platform System was developed and launched as an innovative tool to bolster local law enforcement’s resources for combating criminal activity. It provides “eyes on sight” in advance of and in addition to the dispatch of ground-level manpower. The System’s ability to follow a criminal target via visual movement at altitudes from 1,000 to 3,000 feet above ground heightens responsiveness and safety in scenarios with limited ground unit access or eminent danger to other individuals.

Since its deployment, the LEAPS tool has enhanced the ongoing successes of local law enforcement throughout the Lancaster community; aiding in arrests, pursuits, and surveillance of numerous activities that pose a threat to public safety. The System’s most recent activity report notes that LEAPS was dispatched 105 times in the month of March. Its more than 25 hours of airtime during that period resulted in six arrests, as well as the surveillance of several suspected narcotics trafficking locations.

One of the key benefits of the Law Enforcement Aerial Platform System is the availability of the unit for immediate public safety needs. As a local asset, the System may be deployed by the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station at any time to assist deputies and additional emergency personnel, such as Fire Department and natural disaster crews.

“Make no mistake about it, LEAPS has made a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of local law enforcement operations. It is an invaluable, proven tool for improving the safety of our community, as well as the deputies who continuously work hard to keep our city safe,” added Mayor Parris. “This incident truly captures the essence of government’s responsibility to protect residents from an event which could endanger their safety -- and capturing the bad guys.”

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