WHERE: Tuscon AZ PD
WHEN: Tuesday 23rd 2021
Our department is located in southern Arizona. We serve a population of over 655,000 people with just over 700 officers. Our Field Patrol Units currently handle an average of 1100 calls for service in a 24-hour period every day of the week. Our ultimate goal is to have several part 107 certified operators, (currently we have two). We would like to have the ability to deploy drones to serve as force multipliers in an array of different capacities from vehicle accident mapping, large scale crime scene documentation, searching of missing persons and soft target protection. we have long term goals of drones deployed tactically with our SWAT and EOD teams. Our first missions to address would be vehicle accident mapping to open roadways quicker and search and rescue of missing persons; with our extreme summer weather when we get a call for a missing person it is imperative we are able to cover as much ground as quickly as possible. A drone can be used to scout areas quicker and rule out locations enabling officers on the ground the ability to search more efficiently. Another immediate life safety advantage will be with added protection of our numerous soft-target protection capabilities. Being located an hour from the international border, we experience a large number of public demonstrations. Being able to have a set of eyes in the air will greatly enhance our ability to protect the demonstrations as well as the general public. Because of our great weather here in the southwest, we have a large number of out door events which attract large numbers citizens who unfortunately create prime targets for attackers looking to create a large number of casualties. Again, having drones deployed to these events can provide officers some time and distance to respond to an imminent attack. I have been working toward a sUAS program for several months. We have much of the policies and procedures in place but unfortunately we are struggling to find funding to purchase equipment. What we would like to have to operate fully functioning program is a Matrice 210 with the Zenmuse XT2 (FLIR) and Z30 (30x zoom camera). The 210 would be used as our “workhorse” during major events. This equipment along with all the necessary batteries, monitors, and controllers is a major expense for department but I know we can make the citizens of Tucson safer and potentially safe lives. In addition to the 210, we are also looking to operate several Mavic Pro type drones which are rapidly deployed to be used as trainers for new pilots as well as maintaining skills, additionally the Mavics would also be used to scou
The drone will help police map crashes, photograph large crime scenes and search for missing people, according to a press release from TPD. Eventually, the department wants to deploy drones with SWAT teams and Bomb Squads.
Tucsonan Brian Gant said “I didn’t want to just donate to a Goodwill or anything. I was looking for maybe a youth organization. But then I stumbled across the website for the national drone donation team [The National Public Safety Drone Donation Program] and got in touch with them after seeing that they had someone here in the Tucson area. And decided this was probably the best to assure that the drone got a life usage and actually got put to good use.”
Tucson Police says the first step is training more drone operators.
So far, the department has two licensed operators, with a goal to license over 100 operators.
There were three additional donations made totaling more than $8000;