CLEARWATER — Clearwater police officers and Pinellas deputies are teaming up to make the holidays a bit safer for shoppers on Black Friday and Saturday, deploying a two-story high, manned mobile surveillance tower at Westfield Countryside Mall.
SkyWatch, obtained by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in 2012 through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, will be located at the mall, 27001 U.S. 19 N, directly across from P.F. Chang's, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Saturday.
The goal is to provide education (traffic, personal safety, etc.) and deter vehicle burglaries as the holiday shopping season gets under way.
Deputies say the advantages of SkyWatch include that it provides a maximum field of view, increases law enforcement's ability to assess a situation and allows them to better respond to events as they occur.
According to deputies, the highly visible tower also serves as a deterrent to would-be criminals.