Drone usage continues to help GF law enforcement better serve community

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 10:20 PM CST
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Unmanned aircraft systems like drones can be a useful tool for law enforcement agencies.

“It’s very important for us to use UAS. It gives us another perspective,” said Mike Gavere, a detective for the Grand Forks Police Department.

In Grand Forks, 12 drone pilots from agencies like GFPD, the sheriff’s office, and the fire department make up a UAS team that allows for a quicker response to emergencies.

“Sometimes we get missing children or kids going towards the river, in the wintertime especially. Children and vulnerable adults that take off from home to where they aren’t supposed to be,” said Gavere. “We can deploy a drone from the backseat of our squad car within 5 minutes.”

The drones also have unique features like infrared technology.

GFPD was just able to use the device to catch a man who fled on foot after being involved in a domestic incident.

“You wouldn’t be able to see them from the street, but from the air, with infrared technology, we can pick them out,” said Gavere.

The drones are also used to help map out the scene of an accident, fire, or other incidents.

Gavere says these kinds of situations can use several officers and emergency crews, but drones can help drastically cut the investigating time.

“If we need to take measurements, that can take up to two to three hours,” he said. “By us being able to utilize UAS we are able to capture all those measurements through photos. We are able to process major accidents in a little under 30 minutes.”

Gavere says the unit has been using the drones since 2012 and honing their approach ever since.

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