- Associated Press - Friday, August 15, 2014

VOORHEES, N.J. (AP) - Camden County officials put new high-flying public safety technology on display during this year’s Maccabi Games.

A helium-filled blimp with a tethered camera purchased last month offered a bird’s-eye view of the games at a high school in Voorhees this week. The blimp provided live video from above the scene to first responders down below.

Camden County officials told the Courier-Post (http://on.cpsj.com/1oB3N5c ) that the blimp was purchased last month with a federal grant and reduces the number of police officers needed to patrol on the ground.

The $8,000 blimp kept watch over the Maccabi Games, an annual athletic competition for Jewish teenagers. The games took place in Cherry Hill, Evesham and Voorhees and were hosted by Cherry Hill’s Katz Jewish Community Center. The games ended Thursday and drew international participants.

Officials said planning for the event began more than a year ago and was coordinated by the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office.

The games were last hosted by Cherry Hill in 1999, but required much more security this time around. James Jankowski, chief of communications in the county’s public safety department, said security has been heightened since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

“There were security measures taken, but not to this extent,” said Jankowski. “This is a new world that we live in.”

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Information from: Courier-Post (Cherry Hill, N.J.), http://www.courierpostonline.com/

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