IFPD working on having eyes in the sky with drones

IFPD getting drones in the sky

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Idaho Falls Police Department is working on implementing drones in its investigations.

IFPD Logistic Officer David Barker bought this drone himself for the department, in trying to get a drone program implemented.

"We've been actively pursuing an unmanned aircraft system program for the last year. There's quite a bit of red-tape involved with the FAA to get the clearances and authorizations we need. We're essential halfway, or little further, through that process." Barker said.

There are several steps needed to get a drone off the ground for investigative purposes, such as creating operating polices and procedures, training officers and approving a budget.

There one drone will not fit every mission, therefore being able to have several different models and sizes would be ideal.

"Right now we're really looking at the larger scale of things as that would be the most useable, most beneficial, for our needs in the community," Barker said.

The one huge benefit to using drones is the scope of vision.

"Better see in low light conditions, at night, but its not x-ray vision so we can't look through walls. We're looking a thermal imagining or a thermal camera that can help try and find people in large fields," Barker said.

In addition, efficiency, especially when it comes to traffic accidents.

"Last year we had a fatal accident at 17th Street and Pancheri . That traffic accident required 5 hours of that intersection being shut down and 10 officers to control that intersection for the investigation. That created a huge traffic nightmare for the motoring public," said Sgt. John Johnson. "If we can cut down the amount of time it takes to investigate that accident scene, properly photograph it and measure it, we can get the motoring public back onto their way in a timely manner."

Barker says the department is looking toward the end of the year to have its own drone program in place.

If you are worried about your privacy when police drones are in the air, there are already statues in place to protect you (i.e. Idaho Code 21-213), and law enforcement still need warrants to search your property if you are a person of interest.

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