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Unexpected encounter with LAPD

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Kampy, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. Kampy

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    Yesterday I was flying my P4 over my apartment building in Sherman Oaks, CA, and had the drone about a block away (over Ventura Blvd) when a helicopter flew overhead at a pretty low altitude (over me, not the drone). The first thing I did was freeze and try to get a visual on the helicopter's location (first with my own eyes, then with the P4) and through the P4 camera I could see the heli go into a search orbit a few blocks away. I then knew it was an LAPD bird, so I lowered my altitude down to about 100 ft and headed back to my building to land ASAP.

    While I was doing this, an LAPD cruiser stopped at the end of my street, close to where I was standing, and then backed up to stop near my side of the sidewalk. I thought "oh ****... I'm about to get busted for interfering with the airspace of a LAPD helicopter" so I turned around and started walking back toward my building, thinking I could land in the interior courtyard and then hide out in my apt before the cops would see where the drone went.

    But as soon as I started walking away, a cop jumped out of the car and yelled out to me, "Hey, I see you're flying a drone there." "Umm... yeah" I replied, thinking I was about to get into some kind of trouble. I was about to start explaining that I was just trying to land because I saw a helicopter fly by and didn't want to interfere with it. But before I could say anything, the cop said "Is there any chance your drone got footage of a black van driving by? Are you recording? Is there any chance we can see the footage you're shooting?" I said sure, and then brought it in to land, while the cop started asking me friendly questions about it, like "Is it hard to control? How much did it cost?" etc.

    I landed and played back some footage I just shot (through my iPhone), but it was hard to identify cars and he decided the footage wasn't of much use, and thanked me anyway. I said sorry, I wasn't paying much attention to the cars driving past as my eyes were focused on flying my drone, so I didn't see the black van they were looking for.

    So, that was the end of the encounter with LAPD, and I was going to post about it here along with the footage of the whole thing... BUT... just now, after I uploaded to YouTube, I think I may see the black van they were looking for! One minute into the video, you'll see someone running on the sidewalk outside the Ralph's grocery store / Wells Fargo bank, and then jump into a black minivan that was parked in the truck loading area (closed off to public) and start turning around before I fly over and the minivan goes out of frame. I can't help but wonder if that was the suspect they were looking for... Take a look at the video and let me know what you think... should I call LAPD and tell them I might have footage of the black van they were looking for?

     
  2. Cale262

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    Cool capture! I'd call them up and let them know...may be a good bit of PR for all of us out there.
     
  3. NormanNormal

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    Wow that is wild. You actually got good footage of the guy and the van. I would call for sure. Of course the cops are nice when they need us. :D
     
  4. Numone

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    I agree....
     
  5. Fallguy

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    Dont know why you even have to ask that question here.
     
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  6. adambfarmer

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    At 2:18 you have a shot of that same black van again. Far right of screen coming out of the driveway.


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  7. Kampy

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    Yeah, I see that now too. And the driver of the LAPD cruiser was still parked right across from it, facing right at it as it pulled out, so if that was what they were looking for, you'd think he/she would have noticed, right?
     
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  8. Cale262

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    If they know that they can pull the cruisers dash cam footage, even better for them to know.
     
  9. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    If you see a police helicopter coming in to do orbits, your best course of action is to land as quickly as you can.
     
  10. Kampy

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    Yup, and that's exactly what I did. Made sure I knew where the copter was, lowered my altitude to below 100' and came in to land ASAP.
     
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  11. Ant1992

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    Send the footage!! For all you know it can end up on one of those cop shows. Haha. Then you can say "THAT WAS FROM MY P4!" That probably won't happen but it's funny and interesting to think about. But seriously send it in. They'll never stop thanking you and you could possibly be on local news at the most and get some good PR for drone enthusiasts (as mentioned earlier)
     
  12. Kampy

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    Yeah I already e-mailed the Commanders and Deputy Chief of my local LAPD Bureau. I don't think anything will come of it, but just in case...
     
  13. Ramphex

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    Contact the non-emergent line and have an officer check out the footage, it might be very relevant to their investigation.

    Let us know of your findings
     
  14. PhantomPlanet

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    great story. i love that it's a great experience having to do with both flying a quadcopter and interaction with law enforcement. those are two things that the American media has been taking a crap on for a while now.
     
  15. Ramphex

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    OP, any updates?
     
  16. Kampy

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    For those interested, here's the follow-up...

    Hello Mr. Scott K____________

    I am Lt Greg Hoyte from Van Nuys Area Detectives. I wanted to contact you and thank you for your recent email regarding a possible suspect captured by your drone video. I was able to research the radio call that the Van Nuys officers responded. I learned that there was a person who reported he believed he may have witnessed a woman being forced into a black truck. The caller stated the vehicle was a black truck but did not have a license plate. Our Radio Dispatch Operator, assigned to Communications Division, attempted to get more information from the person, but the caller refused to provide more information. The caller was certain that the vehicle was a truck, not a van.

    As a result of my investigation, the vehicle captured on your video turned out was not related to the incident being investigated by the officers. I want to first thank you for being a responsible resident of Sherman Oaks area by contacting the Los Angeles Police Department with your concerns and your video. Second, I also want to thank you for responsibly flying your drone and attempting to land once you recognized the presence of the police helicopter.

    Additionally, in the future if you witness or believe you may have witnessed a crime, please do not hesitate to call 911 in case of an emergency or 1-877-ASK-LAPD, in non-emergency situations.

    Lt Gregory Hoyte
    Asst. Commanding Officer
    Van Nuys Detectives

    And my reply back....

    Lt. Hoyte,

    I really appreciate you following up with me. I figured the video was probably not useful, but then, you never know, right? I've watched enough marathons of "The First 48" to know that sometimes a random piece of information can make a difference.

    Also, thanks for acknowledging my responsible drone piloting. I know there's more and more people flying these things lately, which has some people concerned. In my experience, 99% of drone pilots follow the rules and use common sense, but we're always worried that there's always gonna be that one idiot that does something really stupid and screws it up for everyone. Please know that for every dumbass that does something moronic like trying to follow a helicopter, there's a thousand of us that are being safe and responsible when flying.

    Cheers,

    Scott​
     
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  17. Ramphex

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    Excellent!! Good job and a great experience. Love seeing positive stories, especially around here
     
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  18. Kampy

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    and... here's a little more follow-up, which is even more interesting, because I don't think they realized I was CC'd on their e-mail chain... lol

    Chief,

    Please see below brief prepared by Lt Greg Hoyre on what has been done as it relates to the case you inquired about.

    Please let me know if you have any additional recommendations or questions.

    Respectfully,

    Lillian.

    Below is the trail of events and search criteria during the time frame of the related video in question.

    Video- Shot on April 10, 2016 at 1730 hours according to citizen providing. Vehicle shown in question in video is a dark colored van, unknown Make/Model.
    • Ofcr. Trejo ran Palantir search for LPR or vehicle in area matching Dark/Black Van- No hit.
    • Radio/ Call Incident called in at 1749 hours (Inc # 160410003620)
    • PR advised saw unk female taken against her will, PR unsure of what he saw and afraid for his life for witnessing, PR then disconnected upon attempt to gain further. C/B was busy tone.
    • Airship and units (9A63/A89/A41) searched the area with negative results. No further/ GOA was dispo.
    • Det. Yep contacted the PR who gave a description of the possible suspect vehicle which was a Black Dodge Truck with open bed. Vehicle in video does not match this description of a dark colored van.
    • Ofcr. Trejo contacted Communication Division to search for any other related calls during the time of the video that may be related to vehicle in video within 15 minute period. - Negative Results (Jessica- N3326).

    Lillian L. Carranza
    Captain
    Van Nuys Area
    Commanding Officer

    ROBERT GREEN, DEPUTY CHIEF
    [​IMG]5:28 PM (4 hours ago)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]to LILLIAN, PETER, ALBERT, me, NATALIE, contact.lapdon., pitcherk, scottr
    [​IMG]
    Thank you
    Please have someone contact the individual that has the video to thank him and provide feedback​
     
    #18 Kampy, Apr 13, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
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  19. snerd

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    Good stuff, maynard! How coincidental is it to see a man running out of a bank and get into a black vehicle?! Crazy stuff, man!
     
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  20. rcheing

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    Man, I hope that female taken against her will is OK and praying that nothing happens to her.
     
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