Wisconsin's Eau Claire Police Department benefits from UAS



After investing nearly $4,000 in a UAS earlier this year, the Eau Claire Police Department in Eau Claire, Wisconsin has used its unmanned system to help with multiple search and rescue missions over the last few months. Currently, the department has eight officers that are trained to fly the UAS.

According to Deputy Chief Chad Hoyord, the UAS is beneficial because it provides investigators with a unique perspective, while keeping officers out of harm’s way.

“We have used it two times to do a search and rescue of the river bank and the rivers. It allowed us to look at the area and look without having to put someone in the water,” Hoyord says via WEAU.

Hoyord says that the UAS was also used recently by the crash reconstruction team to map out a scene. Using the UAS proved to be extremely efficient, as they didn’t have to block off traffic to map out the scene, and they also didn’t have to put any officers on the street.

Outside of the police department, the City of Eau Claire would like to utilize this technology for a number of potential tasks, including as a tool to map out certain parts of the city, such as the developing downtown, and the Confluence Project.

“The city flies aerial flights, the last time we did that was 2013. We have a lot of stuff that has happened in downtown,” comments City Engineer Dave Solberg.

“We are hoping there is an opportunity to update the city mapping in sections where there has been development by using the drone. That would also save us money from having to conduct another aerial flight.”

The city's community services department is also interested in using the UAS to capture photos of local parks for the city's website.

“We could be able to help our customers to see the areas that we rent out and park amenities,” says community services director Jeff Pippenger.

“We have a few photos on our website, but we don't have anything that has an aerial view. I think that is something our customers would appreciate.”

On Dec. 5, city staff received hands on training with the equipment. Hoyord is hoping to get the city staff trained up on how to use the technology soon.