Northeast Region UAS Unit begins proactive deployment of its UAS
According to a news release from the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department in Grand Forks, North Dakota, via the Grand Forks Herald, the Northeast Region Unmanned Aircraft Systems Unit will begin proactive deployment of its UAS on March 1, which will allow officers that are trained as pilots to take UAS with them as they patrol their areas.
The unit has authorization to fly UAS anywhere in the nation, according to Sheriff's Lt. B.J. Maxson, who oversees the Northeast Region UAS Unit.
Before this week’s development, the unit had just two UAS, and required law enforcement to go to the Sheriff's Department to pick up the UAS. This meant that the unit was used as a reactionary measure.
Now though, the sector has four UAS, according to Maxson, who adds that for now, patrol use will likely be limited to the Grand Forks and University of North Dakota police departments, being that the Sheriff's Office still needs to have UAS to respond to other situations.
Still, the proactive effort should help officers respond to patrol incidents, according to the Grand Forks Herald, “especially in situations where officers need to search for lost children or document disaster scenes.”
“It's going to be that much quicker because of the aircraft on the street,” Maxson says.
The UAS will not be used for random patrol flights; instead, they will be used during calls-for-service. Agencies that intend to fly the UAS will be required to alert the proper authorities, including the nearest airfield, of their intentions to use the technology.