With new technologies coming through daily to help local police municipalities the Duncan Police Department used donations from two organizations to begin a new Unmanned Aerial System Drone program for the department.
Detective James Egger and Master Officer Jason Downs will be the first two police officers in Stephens County who will be certified remote pilots through the FAA to man the new drone units.
“It is a DJI Inspire 1 and it is one of the more popular brands,” Egger said. “The manufacturer is very well known and they make numerous drones and they operate really easily.”
According to Egger, the model has GPS capabilities if the battery, which generally last 20-30 minutes, runs out, making sure the drone returns safely to the starting point. It also comes with the option to fly using GPS coordinates.
“We have the option to fly it with GPS or without it,” Egger said. “We can kind of recreate an accident scene or crimes scenes and get an aerial perspective of the scene in general.”
One of the reasons the Duncan Police Department wanted to implement a program like this was because they saw the use during the search for Damion Alexander last summer in Duncan.
Along with searches, Egger said the unit can be used for several different instances, but the main reasons to use the units will be for search and rescues.
“It will be equipped with clear thermal imaging and I believe in situations like that it will be a great asset,” Egger said. “We don’t plan on doing any kind of surveillance and we don’t want to infringe on any kind of privacy issues that the public maybe concerned with. This and our main concern is the preservation of evidence and safety.”
Duncan Police Department wanted to make sure to thank the Nutt Family Trust and the Duncan Chisholm Trail Kiwanis for the donations to assist in obtaining the equipment.
Duncan Chisholm Trail Kiwanis President Chris Genn who was on hand to see the drone donation through said this was a great tool for the department and is happy to help the police unit out.
“The Kiwanis organization … is about the kids and the children of our community,” Genn said. “With this young man, we watched as the community and the police force and the hard work and the man-hours, the attitudes and the work ethic of these guys and after it was all said and done we just felt like we should do something to show them that we support and are proud of them.”
Eggers said there is a possibility of training more officers, but they will start off having two officers trained to use the drones. If the need is there they will train more if the department sees the need to.”