San Diego

San Diego Police Department Helicopters to Get Internet, GPS

The highly secure network will bring internet service to police helicopters for the first time.

The San Diego Police Department's helicopters will soon be feature new, high-tech upgrades, including internet and GPS systems in each copter. 

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and SDPD Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, and representatives from AT&T, announced the new technology at a press conference Wednesday. 

The highly secure network, which will bring internet service to police helicopters for the first time, will better help pilots communicate with ground support. 

“When police officers are protecting our communities, I want to make sure they have the best technology at their disposal,” Faulconer said. “This idea came directly from our one of our officers and AT&T was enthusiastic about working with us to make it a reality. This now gives officers in the air powerful new tools to keep our neighborhoods safe.”

Prior to this technology, tactical flight officers in helicopters could not access the police department's computer-aided dispatch system. The system lets officers on the ground keep up with the latest information on unfolding incidents. 

Now, officers can locate and track police copters while airborne using the helicopter's GPS. The technology also logs and provides post-flight mission reporting data such as flight paths. 

“With the help of AT&T, we’re able to bring innovation and efficiency to our City’s finest and improve services to all San Diegans,” Chief Zimmerman said. “Our ‘Connected Copters’ are just the latest example of how we can make our city better through technology.”

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