Law enforcement drones are a new, and sometimes controversial, tool for public safety agencies. With the increasing need for social distancing and the usual budgetary stressors, local police departments are being forced to do more with less manpower. The town of Linn, Wisconsin worked with a consulting firm to start a drone program – and to measure the results. Here’s what they found.
Linn, Wisconsin is a tourist town. The police department covers a 36 square mile jurisdiction – much of which is the lake that draws thousands of visitors each summer. The lake is so popular as a tourist destination, in fact, that the town’s population increases to 3 times it’s winter population in the summer months. That means that the local police department is significantly strained in the summer: dealing with everything from lost children to drug busts with a healthy dose of lake safety issues.
Police Chief James Bushey decided to explore law enforcement drones as a tool to optimize manpower. The Police Department enlisted Adorama Business Solutions to help them navigate the drone space: purchasing and incorporating drone technology into their operations. Working with a consulting firm helped the department to find the right hardware, develop an effective training program – and to evaluate the results of their drone program.
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The Town of Linn Police Department Training
Training is one of the major challenges in implementing new police drone programs. Linn developed an efficient way to train their own departments, and potentially help other departments.
“Officers from the Town of Linn Police Department initially attended various local drone training courses, but in order to streamline the team’s development and ensure its quality, Chief James Bushey created an official FAA-approved curriculum, which all of the town’s officers now follow in order to earn certifications that allow them to fly drones,” says an Adorama press release. “Chief Bushey is now one of five official drone flight trainers in the state of Wisconsin.”
The Results are In
Using law enforcement drones is an effective way to optimize department manpower – and in Linn, it’s proven to be a major advantage. The drones are used to deal with search and rescue operations in and surrounding the lake; to survey road damage; and to get overhead images of buildings and structures that require maintenance and repairs. In all of those situations, says the Adorama Business Solutions report: “The drones have enabled Linn police officers to reduce both the amount of time and manpower needed to respond to situations by 50%.”
“Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the department has been able to utilize the drones to patrol its large jurisdiction while maintaining social distancing and reducing the number of officers in the field,” says the release.
“The use of drone technology enables us to not only protect our community better and more efficiently, but we’re also able to help neighboring jurisdictions,” said James Bushey, Chief of the Town of Linn Police Department. “We all face similar manpower and equipment challenges, so unmanned aerial capabilities make a huge difference for solving cases. Combined with the ability to patrol while maintaining social distancing, we’re more confident than ever in our ability to protect our residents.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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