Ridge Meadows RCMP was selected as the pilot location for this program due to the detachment’s close proximity to open green spaces. (Contributed)

Ridge Meadows RCMP selected for new air enforcement program

Air balloon launching April 1 in Memorial Peace Park

Ridge Meadows RCMP has been chosen to participate in a unique air surveillance and enforcement program.

The Federal Air Reconnaissance and Crime Enforcement (FARCE) unit is launching its maiden voyage Monday from Memorial Peace Park in Maple Ridge.

Utilizing new, force issued, hot air balloon technology, the program will not replace the current Air One service, but is intended to augment existing aerial surveillance techniques.

Some of the driving factors in creating the FARCE unit were to address rising air fuel costs, as well as a need to seek greener and more environmentally friendly methods of providing tactical police services.

Ridge Meadows RCMP was selected as the pilot location for this program due to the detachment’s close proximity to open green spaces.

“When testing FARCE, we were struck by the almost silent and noiseless approach of a hot air balloon,” said Supt. Jennifer Hyland. “This immediately confirmed our expectations that hot air balloon technology will enhance our covert approach methods, when attending crimes in progress, through its stealth-like and peaceful presence.”

Hyland added the community will appreciate the FARCE when it fully understands what the program is about.

Monday is April Fool’s Day.

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