RICHLAND, Wash. — The Richland Police Department has added a drone program to its available resources in hopes of offering increased safety to the community and officers. RPD officers are now all drone pilots that have completed training for FAA certification as Part 107 pilots, according to its Facebook post.
The department has two different kinds of drones, with different purposes. The goal is to have at least one of each ready to go out at any time. This includes two UAS drones, a Mavic mini and an Enterprise. The Enterprise drone comes with an infrared camera, which will make investigations at night much easier, according to Sergeant Chris Mason.
The drones can assist with investigation by providing a birds-eye view of the scene, which Mason says will help RPD locate missing people, keep suspects from getting away and coordinate better with officers on-scene.
RPD reports already using these new drones on several instances to “fight crime and ensure safety.”
“So this is a program that is used to supplement our officers, not replace them,” said Mason. “It is not a traffic program, it is not an enforcement program; it is used to provide us with the additional information to safely protect our community and our officers.”