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Skywatch tower offers Norman police bird's-eye view

Norman police hope to use a Skywatch mobile observation tower to deter crime.
BY JANE GLENN CANNON Published: November 19, 2011

— Police hope to use a newly acquired Skywatch mobile observation tower to deter crime during the holiday shopping season.

The tower provides a 25-foot-high observation platform, which can be manned by two officers with binoculars and radios who can get a bird's-eye view of high-traffic shopping areas often targeted by thieves, said Capt. Mike Praizner.

The observation tower can be towed and parked in parking lots at malls or large department stores or wherever a police presence is needed, he said.

“Just its presence in a parking lot will deter thieves, we believe,” Praizner said.

The holiday season typically is a time when more car burglaries and shoplifting incidents occur, he said.

The Skywatch tower will be used for the first time on Black Friday in the Sooner Mall parking lot, Praizner said.

A new Skywatch tower retails for about $96,000, but the agency located a slightly used “military surplus” one that was available for $7,500, including the cost of a new paint job, Capt. Tom Easley said.

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