A white Ford F-150 pickup truck was being driven southbound at a high speed on Highway 550 near Hermosa on Monday, November 28. A deputy with the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office attempted to pull the truck over.
The pursuit was joined by more deputies who successfully deployed spike strips to quickly deflate all four truck tires. The male driver fled away from the vehicle.
To help them find the suspect, deputies called on the drone unit of the Durango Police Department. Officer Dan Kellermeyer of the DPD used a drone with a heat-detecting infrared camera.
Drone pilot Officer Kellermeyer found the suspect hiding in brush about 30 yards west of the county road within 2–3 minutes of deploying the drone. A short while later, Ronnie James (48) was taken into custody.
James was arrested for Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft (Felony 4) and Vehicular Eluding (Felony 5).
“This is another excellent example of mutual teamwork between law enforcement agencies,” said Durango Police Chief Bob Brammer. “It’s also a reminder that residents need to lock their cars and secure keys to help prevent these types of crimes.”
In January 2022, the Durango Police Department launched its drone division with a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced.
The department has added three more drones in the last year for various tasks, such as crash investigations, missing people searches, Search and Rescue, responding to hazardous spills and natural disasters, and tracking down violent offenders.
Three officers from DPD with Part 107 certificates are currently participating in the program as pilots. To date, there have been more than 100 drone flights.
The team leader for DPD’s drone unit, Officer Dan Kellermeyer, thinks there are numerous uses for Police Drones to enhance public safety.
“It’s a great piece of technology that serves the whole community very well. We want to be engaged with the community on how the drone works and how we’re utilizing it here at the police department.”
Police drone in action
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