We’ve covered numerous stories about how law enforcement uses drone technology to keep people safe, and more and more units are incorporating drones into their operations.
The Riley County police department is one of the latest units in America to look into using drones to improve their work. They have even implemented a drone program, like many other departments in America. Wade Cherms, a county crime scene investigator, is very enthusiastic about the possibility police have to be able to respond to things like chases and missing person cases within minutes, and it takes very little time to turn a drone on and fly it to areas of interest.
Another county officer, Douglas Wood, was asked by the department’s assistant director to create the drone program for the department. Wood had actually had his own drone business, so it was a peace of cake for him to transfer his skills to his day job. Wood is as excited as Cherms, stating that drones’ aerial views help with everything from accident reconstruction to evidence collection, and help officers better plan their movements and take the next steps in situations.
Cherms said that drones can even help in finding sick or confused people so that they can be helped. He specifically gave an example involving someone with Alzheimer’s wandering out of their home and getting lost; the drone would be able to go to the area of interest and look for the lost person. The department is waiting on approval by the FAA to use drones after dark, and to have their drones equipped with thermal vision technology to help find missing people more efficiently.
The county invested about $13,000 in equipment and drones to be able to implement the drone program. Wood believes that the cost is not important when taking into consideration “the potential of saving lives”. Another department, the Topeka police department, has also begun incorporating drones into its work. They hired two drone pilots recently, and have already used drones to map a crime scene. The Topeka fire department has been using drones since 2016, and have used their drones to investigate several scenes like the Fairlawn Green apartment fire that summer. Additionally, Jackson County is also trying to implement a drone program.
Everyone hopes that the drones will help cut down on response time, increasing safety and the productivity of law enforcement. Wood expects that the drone program can be used in disaster relief, like during the Houston flood or during tornado relief efforts.