From various news sources such as Channel 2 in Palm Bay FL and internet sites like http://www.officer.com, I am learning of a new and fascinating invention in the land of crime fighting: the police paraglider. That’s right: a policeman on a paraglider. They are actually calling this “Operation Soar” — I’m calling it “Operation What Are You Thinking?”
At first glance I thought, what a neat idea – some dork snatches an old lady’s purse in the middle of a busy street, no one does anything about it, and here hovering about 4 feet above the ground is Super Copglider and he swoops down whacking the perp on the head and re-snatching the purse all to the amazement of the onlookers (you know, the ones who are actually too scared to get involved in actually helping a little old lady).
Then I rethought this idea and now I’m not so sure it’s a good idea.
First of all Brevard County (where Palm Bay is located) has at least (from my internet research) 20 different retirement communities. Retirement communities tend to be populated with older people. Older people tend to have a few difficulties such as being slightly hard of hearing, stiff-jointed and unable to move out of the way quickly should the need arise, and there’s that pesky problem of not-so-strong bladders.
Take the above and match it with the sight of this coming up behind you:
and I think there could be some potential problems with this; problems such as scaring the crap out of folks and alot of urine to clean up. Although Depends stock could rise. (Note to Linda: may need to rethink this from stock portfolio standpoint.)
I understand from the internet site that these paragliding machines have about 18 horsepower which is like that of your basic low-end Home Depot Lawnmower and they won’t be flown above 400 feet. Above 400 feet?
Wait a minute wasn’t there a paraglider who got stuck on the Statue of Liberty and these yahoos want to fly just less than 400 feet?
The story also noted that these new crime fighting machines won’t be used in pursuits but the Palm Bay police would instead call in for a real helicopter. Gah. What a disclaimer. Can you see an 18 horsepower paraglider following OJ down the highway – heck that chase would have lasted 45 days not 45 minutes.
No, I’m giving this a thumbs-down – even the Federal Aviation Administration isn’t that crazy about this idea and of course we all know how trustworthy they are.
It is also noted that the mission of this machine is to be able to perform close-ground air searches for missing children or seniors amid the city’s winding canals and heavily wooded areas. Canals and wooded areas? Are they nuts? Here’s what happens when you use a paraglider in a wooded area:
Not my idea of fun. Then again I would love to see the look on the face of the driver of the SUV who is speeding down the highway as he looks in his rearview mirror and sees this:
I mean really how do you explain to your wife and co-workers that your were pulled over for speeding by a paraglider. It’s just too absurd.
The Palm Bay Police Chief thinks their area will be one of the first municipal police departments in the country to make use of such technology in this way. I just hope they have contingency plans because I foresee many, many problems. For example, the wind changes just a tad, the paragliding policeman gets distracted by his handy dandy police walkie talkie and we have this situation on our hands:
Now I don’t know about your insurance agency but I can guarantee you that mine would say, “Oh we’re so sorry, but that’s an act of God, honey, and we don’t cover that.”
Paragliding police – it would make a better sitcom I think.