Midlothian Police Officers Become Certificated Remote Pilots
MIDLOTHIAN – The Midlothian Police Department is taking to the sky. Last week, several members from the Traffic Division took part in extensive training to bring cutting edge technology – as in drones – to the city.
“The fielding of Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) is a significant advancement, not only for Public Safety, but for all facets of city government,” said Midlothian Police Department Commander Clayton Regan.
Training classes consisted of a 40-hour Basic Small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) Remote Pilot in Command Course. Prior to that, the group was also required to participate in a FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Prep Course and then pass an examination to become an FAA Certificated Remote Pilot.
Midlothian participants learned basic flight maneuvers on various systems as well as learning to operate the flight data software and use the Command and Control system.
The pilots also learned such skills as night operations using Thermal Camera systems on the aircraft, which will be used to find lost people and fleeing suspects. The MPD UAS Pilots also received instruction on package delivery via UAS, which will allow the department the ability to provide medical equipment, rations, and even a life vest in emergency situations.
Traffic investigators were instructed on a specialized 3D UAS Mapping System in order to access serious crash scenes and clear roadways.
Unmanned Aircraft Is Useful In Emergency Response and More
“The Midlothian PD pilots use the sUAS to provide proactive patrols, looking for home, business and vehicle burglaries, as well as, lost persons and fleeing suspects,” Regan added. “In fact, the vast majority of person searches conducted by the MOD sUAS Pilots are for lost/endangered persons. Other assistance is provided through Special Event Overwatch (parades, etc) and Emergency Responses such as floods and tornados.”
Now, with the completion of these courses the Midlothian PD have six FAA-Certificated Remote Pilots in the Traffic Unit.
Patrol officers will also attend future 40-hour Basic Small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) Remote Pilot in Command Courses.
“The Midlothian Police Department is extremely proud of our UAS and the effort invested by Commander Clay Regan and Volunteer Don Casey,” said Midlothian Police Chief Carl Smith. “The use of UAS has created new capabilities that save time and increase officer safety on a multitude of operations including crash investigations, missing persons, and any event when officers are on foot and in pursuit of fleeing suspects.”