Some people leaving Pacific Beach bars and restaurants on Saturday night may have noticed someone watching over them.
SDPD observation van
For the past two weekends, a mobile observation tower that rises two stories above the ground has been parked just west of Mission Boulevard on Grand Avenue by the San Diego Police Department.
Similar to the mechanical watchdog first seen on the beach four years ago, this darkly tinted tower uses hydraulics to raise it, giving the officer inside a better view of the activities below. The most noticeable improvement to this model is its increased mobility: it is built into a standard cargo van and emerges from the roof.
“Is that for the police?” a girl questioned as she left a nearby bar with friends. Another in her group looked up at the tower and said “It could be a bar promotion.”
Both the van and the tower are white in color and neither has any markings identifying them with law enforcement. Blinking lights on the tower blended in well with those from the nearby bars. As the night progressed, however, the presence of both SDPD vehicles and officers confirmed the source and purpose of the tower.