Police Drones Hunt Suspects and Save the Planet

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Police departments around the world are finding creative ways to launch drone missions – from finding bad guys to helping save the planet:


In Manhattan, Kan., the Riley County Police Department is testing a UAV plan and training officers to get FAA certification. According to local news source The Mercury, the RCPD recently showcased a pilot UAV program at a Chamber of Commerce event. The department spent about $13,000 to deploy a DJI Inspire1 V2 and a DJI Mavic Pro. The Inspire can fly up to 50 mph for almost 20 minutes per charge, carrying up to three pounds. The RCPD is equipping the drone with high-def and thermal cameras. The smaller Mavic, weighing in at just over 1.5 pounds, can fly almost 30 minutes per charge. The RCPD is working to license two officers via training with K-State Polytechnic (formerly Kansas State University-Salina), drawing on the universities rich history of drone-related programs. In 2015, the campus erected a UAS pavilion, one of the largest enclosed drone flight facilities in the U.S. – 300-feet-long by 200-feet-wide and 50-feet-tall.

“We have a lake and we occasionally have difficulties out on the lake, and this gives us a mechanism to deal with that,” RCPD director Brad Schoen said of the drones.


Although officials have yet to confirm, Colorado TV station KDVR reports the Adams County Sheriff’s Office is using drones to search for suspects following the deadly shooting of an officer last week. A reporter tweeted that a drone was witnessed hovering over the site of the shooting.

“Can’t say where due to ongoing investigation but we can see Police team using drones over a neighborhood near the shooting. Not sure what they’re looking for,” reporter Ashley Michels said.

The slain deputy has been identified as Heath Gumm. An unidentified third suspect believed to be tied to the shooting has been apprehended.


Polish drone company Flytronic is helping police in the southern city of Katowice find and catch local residents who break the city’s smog rules. The drone can detect and analyze chemicals spewing from chimneys identify and pinpoint the source, according to Radio Poland.  “After the first hour of testing the drone, a city patrol force issued a PLN 500 (EUR 120, USD 150) fine to an offender using a banned type of fuel,” the report stated.

The World Health Organization identifies 33 Polish cities as some of the biggest smog offenders out of 50 European cities – the agency adds that around 50,000 Polish citizens die each year due to air pollution.


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