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Redmond Police Blotter

Posted on: August 12, 2019

Redmond Police Launch Use of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)

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Redmond, WA Redmond Police have launched an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to primarily assist with investigation of serious traffic collisions. The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) gives RPD an opportunity to use innovative technology to better serve the community. This technology will allow us to complete complex traffic collision investigations in a fraction of the time it currently takes, said Captain Erik Scairpon. The system will lower staffing costs during a major incident, allow us to open roads quicker to lessen traffic impacts, and improve the safety for our officers by not placing them in the roadway. Redmond Police currently owns two UAVs, one of which is equipped with thermal imaging camera that can be helpful in locating missing persons. The UAVs may also be deployed in the case of natural disaster. RPD has conducted extensive research including consultation with neighboring law enforcement agencies who have well-established UAS programs. We welcome questions from our community about this new program. Here are a few of the topics we have been asked about so far:

  • All non-training deployments will be documented in a log and narrative detailing time, date, duration, and reason for the flight.
  • All UAS footage will be subject to the same state-mandated public records laws that apply to all other videos, photos and documents created by the police department.
  • The UAS does not have facial recognition technology nor does the department have a plan to acquire it.
  • Search warrants will be required when there is a reason to use the UAS to collect evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
  • Only police officers trained and licensed by the FAA will be permitted to pilot the UAV.
  • Pilots will take reasonable precautions to avoid inadvertently recording or transmitting images where there is an expectation of privacy.

Please reach out to RPD at rpd@redmond.gov with any questions about the new UAV program. For media inquiries please contact Public Information Coordinator, Andrea Wolf-Buck, at 425-556-2545 or awolf-buck@redmond.gov. 

RPD can now map a traffic collision using the UAS in a fraction of the time it took with older technology. (Photos are of a mock scene.)[/caption] Photo of a mock traffic collision taken by UAV.

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