Drones as a First Responder: DRONERESPONDERS Forms Working Group

drones as first responderDRONERESPONDERS, the leading resource for public safety drone programs, will launch a “Drones as First Responder” working group.

The working group is designed to help other police and public safety departments develop programs like that first built by the Chula Vista, CA police department.  In Chula Vista, drones are sent out in advance of police resources to gain critical situational awareness before police personnel arrive.   Using drones as first responders protects both police personnel and the community, providing important data that allows the commander to determine the appropriate response.

“The mission of the Chula Vista Police Department’s UAS Program is it to provide airborne support to police operations in a safe, responsible, and transparent manner to preserve the peace, reduce response times and increase the quality of life in Chula Vista,” says the city website. “…Small remotely operated Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), also commonly referred to as drones, are an efficient and effective way of providing law enforcement critical information to respond to Calls For Service, emergency situations or to conduct criminal investigations.”

The new working group will be led by Captain Dan Redmond of the Chula Vista Police Department.  (Public safety personnel interested in participating in the working group may communicate with Captain Redmond at [email protected])

Christopher Todd is the Executive Director of AIRT, the DRONERESPONDERS parent organization.   Todd says that the time is now for public safety agencies to establish and expand drone programs.  “Unmanned aircraft systems have continually proven the ability to complement pubic safety and emergency services missions with safe, productive and sometimes even dramatic outcomes.  The ability of drones to plug the aviation gap that existed at the majority of agencies is making UAS the must-have resource entering 2021,” Todd says.

Chula Vista’s Drones as First Responder program requires flight beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS): Chula Vista Police Department has received the first  Certificate of Authorization (COA) for BVLOS flight issued to a public safety organization.   The program uses software that allows remote operation drones from Cape.



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