Some Area Law Enforcement Are Now Using Drones to Protect the Public

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – More law enforcement agencies are looking to the skies to keep the streets safe.

They’re training staff to use drones.

13’s Erika Hall looked into how the Riley County Police Department believes using drones will take their efforts to new heights.

“If we got a chase, we got to find somebody, it takes just a couple minutes to basically just pull it out of the box power it on, and its ready to go,” Riley County Crime Scene Investigator , Wade Cherms said

The RCPD recently started a drone program.

Criminal Intelligence Supervisor, Douglas Wood said he had started his own drone business and the Assistant Director of the department found out about it and asked him to look into starting a program for the police department.

And it’s a game changer.

“…Having the drones having an Ariel view of either tactical situations or evidence collection, accident reconstruction, just provides a different view point for the officers and commanders on scene to evaluate the situation,” Wood said.

RCPD spent months studying how it would incorporate a drone.

The small unmanned aerial platform relieves the need for a helicopter in many emergency response situations.

“If somebody maybe with Alzheimers walks out and nobody knows where they are at, we can send the bird up and get a good aerial view, and watch for movement and things of that sort,” Cherms said.

Wood said once the department is cleared by the FAA they’ll be able to fly at night, and have thermal view of the suspect or a lost person or child.

In total, Riley County invested about $13,000 in equipment to get the program off the ground.

“The cost is minimal when you compare it to the potential of saving lives,” Wood said.

Riley County isn’t the only department making the change.

The Topeka Police Department took flight with two drone pilots a month ago, and have used a drone for mapping a crime scene.

Jackson County also is working to get a drone program up and running.

And the Topeka Fire Department has utilized the State Fire Marshal’s drone to investigate several scenes, including the July 2016 fire at Fairlawn Green Apartments.

All hopeful this type of birds eye view brings faster response, and safer communities.

“We can use this for mass disaster relief in giving operation commanders and overview of the mass disaster scene like the flood in Houston or the tornado we had a here a several years ago,” Wood said.

RCPD says they began using drones in police work this week. [Click for More]