Drone training helps police with accident mapping

Drone training helps police with accident mapping

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Over the next few days, the Idaho Falls Police Department is learning how to better use its unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones. The Sundance Media Group is teaching them how to use the drones to map a crime scene or car accident. Monday’s demonstration involves using different types of lighting for when it’s dark.

“We’re going to demonstrate to the Idaho Falls Police Department how to capture forensic scenes," said Douglas Spotted Eagle, education director for Sundance Media Group. "Basically, a homicide, for example, at night using special types of light and using the drone...we’ve discovered that we can save a police agency anywhere between 75 and 80 percent of their time frame by using this method of evidence capture."

IFPD says it has only used the drones a few times in the past year, but it is constantly training with them. There are also sometimes legal issues at scenes where they need a warrant to fly in a public air space. This week, they are learning about 2D and 3D maps and models at accident scenes. 

“With the accuracy of the images, they can actually take measurements in those models, maps and models," said David Barker, UAS team lead for IFPD. "And so it’s all about documentation of the scenes, preserving those scenes for court appearances or anything that’s needed that way."

Overall, the drone, or UAS technology, will benefit the department in many ways in years to come

“With technology changing, law enforcement is shifting very, very quickly and it’s hard for law enforcement agencies to keep up," Spotted Eagle said. "And it’s very important for them to bring in training agents that can teach them to analyze, or capture and then analyze information that’s less expensive for the city, more time effective and cost effective for the city.”

Monday's event was with the Idaho Public Safety UAS Council and Snake River Search. 

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