The Papillion Police Department began planning the drone project as early as 2019, with a test flight in 2020. Drones have become an increasingly common tool for police departments around the world. Police drones play a vital role in managing airspace assets and handling emergencies!
Just south of Omaha, Papillon, Nebraska has a population of approximately 20,000 and is the fastest growing county in the state. It is also close to Offutt Air Force Base, so when developing the drone project, how to choose a drone to deal with emergencies in this complex airspace became a big problem.
There is a huge market for police drones. There are many models and companies to choose from, and quick response time is a big consideration for long flight times. Papillion PD's choice of Autel drone is based on personal witness.
“It wasn’t until I saw one in person, and saw another agency have one, that [we] realized how quick and easy they were to deploy, with no-fuss geofencing,” said Travis Rozeboom, an official. "So we were sold immediately and we still use the planes every day."
The Autel EVO II 640T is the drone of choice for its practicality and cost-effectiveness. At first, the drone project was started from social donations or social donation of drones, and later, this was included in the police budget.
Successful case of EVO II 640T
A 640T drone with photogrammetry capabilities helps the department save time and manpower while investigating a fatal car crash. Police drones aren't yet replacing accident teams' response to fatalities, but police departments are typically able to record a scene anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Compare that to a traditional accident team investigation, which can take four or five hours, with six or seven people doing the same thing.
An Autel drone 640T equipped with a thermal imaging camera was used to catch robbery suspects. A robbery in Omaha turned into a shooting. The pursuit entered the jurisdiction of Papillion, where three of the four suspects were arrested.
The drone operator was also able to precisely track and locate the last suspect and find his dropped stolen weapon. The ability of the Autel drone to run lights has the potential to exacerbate nighttime standoffs between police and armed suspects, so try not to turn them on. Utilizing the drone's aerial view can lock and observe the suspect's night activities and avoid many potential dangers!
Sergeant Rozeboom also praised the ease of use of the department's Autels, saying mission planning and execution was easy, which is critical for quick response in developing or distracting situations.
Drones without geofencing--Autel drone
Of all the standout features of the Autel drone, there is one key feature that sets it apart from the Papillion: no geofencing.
"The only clear reason we brought Autel was because we knew it could fly," Rozeboom said. "It doesn't force us to update. It doesn't force us to geofence with some arbitrary geofencing rules ... Usually, within 30 to 60 seconds of turning it on, we're up in the air, which for us is A great fortune."
For nearby Air Force bases, airspace management is an important consideration.
Papillon operates a fleet of multi-brand drones, and the quick response capabilities of their Autel drones are critical. Also key to the drone program is obtaining federal authorization to operate. This will help Autel drones fly in more restricted airspace.
The Papillion Police Department's Autel drone plans the future
The Papillion Police Department is looking to buy more drones, the Autel Drone 640T has been a major surprise, and now they are more interested in the EVO II V3 series and EVO Max 4T. They are also interested in drones as first responders (DFR) programs, which may include the use of Dragonfish.
While Autel drones aren't exactly American drones, concerns about Chinese-made drones and U.S. regulations have been a factor in many emergency drone projects. Politics aside, Rozeboom says their Autel drone is the perfect choice for the job.
"We're a big proponent of using the best tool for the job within your budget. That's where Autel really exceeds our expectations," says Rozeboom. "The price point, the features included ... and the ability to do every job are huge in the law enforcement industry."
Autel takes data security very seriously. Drone camera and Live Deck footage is broadcast on an encrypted frequency, and flight data is stored internally after each completion. Our servers are located in the United States.
Autel 640T as a thermal imaging drone can serve first responders across the country and protect the lives of officials and citizens. It is our honor to be chosen by public safety agencies and police departments.