Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
The Spring Hill Police Department (SHPD) has a new law enforcement tool at its disposal to help officers take a bird’s eye view of crime and traffic accident scenes previously only possible with a manned aircraft.
The department recently purchased an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), most commonly known as a “drone,” equipped with photo and video capability.
The drone will aid the department in a wide range of uses, such as providing an aerial view of HAZMAT incidents and major traffic crash scenes, which helps with investigation and incident reconstruction; having a bird’s eye view during search and rescue missions, or when searching for missing children; tracking an aggressor during any critical incident, such as one involving the PD’s Special Response Team or during a hostage situation; tracking a suspect on the run; traffic monitoring, such as photographing or videoing an intersection where accidents frequently occur, examining storm water drainage issues, school traffic dynamics, roadway construction projects, traffic flow patterns, or any issues that may impact roadway safety.
“To be clear, the drone will not be used for traffic enforcement or issuing citations, invasion of privacy, surveillance, or other uses deemed improper,” said Police Chief Don Brite. “Use of a UAV will be allowed in any situation where a search warrant has been obtained. To further calm any fears about the use of the aircraft, there will not be any weapons attached to it.”
On July 17, the Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen will vote on the SHPD’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations Policy, which was discussed at the board’s July 3 work session.
The drone has a “Small UAS Certificate of Registration” from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). SHPD Detective Geoff Betts became licensed in April to fly the craft, earning his UAS remote pilots license from the FAA. The SHPD’s drone policy requires the drone to only be flown by Det. Betts or another trained individual under the direct supervision of Det. Betts. Chief Brite or his designee must preapprove all flights. Eventually, two additional officers will become UAS certified to ensure the drone is available for flight at all times.