Rockford Police Department adds UAS to its operations

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​In an effort to “benefit the community and enhance officer safety,” the Rockford Police Department in Rockford, Illinois will begin using UAS.

Donated by Illinois Drone-One, Inc., the new UAS will be used for a variety of purposes, including speeding up the investigation of serious and fatal vehicle crash scenes.

After serious accidents, roads are usually closed for hours so that photographs and measurements can be taken. By using UAS to capture video and photographs, though, the data can be downloaded into software which will provide “to-scale measurements” in a significantly shorter time frame than traditional investigation methods.

“We will still need to close roads to examine evidence at the scene,” says John Pozzi, Assistant Deputy Chief with the Rockford Police Department. “However, the drones will reduce the process by several hours.”

Using UAS for crash investigations will ultimately reduce demand for police resources. Police resources will be freed up to respond to other calls for services, thanks to the reduced time of road closures as a result of UAS.

Drivers will also benefit from this technology, as traffic congestion for major crashes will be reduced as well.

Some of the other ways that the department will use UAS include for large crime scene mapping and aerial security and intelligence during critical incidents. 

All of the department’s pilots are FAA Part 107 certified, and the department holds an FAA waiver that allows it to conduct low light or night time operations, and includes additional safety precautions.

The Rockford Police Department policy and procedure for use of the UAS reflects that of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Also, the department must follow the Illinois Compiled Statutes regarding the Illinois Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act.

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