Portland Police Bureau unveils new drone program
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Portland Police Bureau is unveiling a new program utilizing Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS), or drones, in emergency situations.
The Bureau say these tools will improve response time while decreasing inconvenience to the public.
In April, Portland City Council voted to approve $80,000 to PPB to use drones in a 1-year pilot project.
Sargent Jim DeFrain says the drones will be used in four categories: traffic division, search and rescue, critical incidents and the explosive unit.
“It’s so valuable the ability to do things with less cops. Do them smarter, do them faster reduce the inconvenience to the public,” said DeFrain. “This thing has proven to deescalate situations. It’s proven to get streets open faster and it’s proven to help the community in those things that are most annoying. Nobody wants to be waiting at 5 PM in the afternoon while we have I-5 closed down to it for a traffic crash.”
PPB will start off with seven drones and have 16 certified pilots. The 1-year program will focus on traffic collision. PPB can use the drone to document scenes of a crash and document post-crash vehicle damage and cut time. They will also focus on The Metro Explosive Disposal Unit.
The unit allows them to quickly gather information on suspicious items from a distance, search for secondary devices, confirm location of items following render safe operations, provide sUAS support during tactical events upon request of Critical Incident Commander (CIC) and provide immediate support during disasters, building collapse, etc.
“We can fly directly down the path that the vehicles took or video of the area evidence in the area,” said Officer Garrett Dow. “We believe it has the potential to take an interstate freeway closure that would take about four hours, and knock that down to an hour, hour and a half and be able to reopen.”
The program is expected to start June 13. After a year, PPB will present a report for city council, in hopes they continues using the drones
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