The Papillion Police Department in Nebraska recently established a drone unit, which uses the technology to assist with ongoing investigations. It only takes 60 seconds for the Autel police drone to power up, and before you know it, it is assisting the authorities in their investigation.
“From the time we show up, get our markers out, build the mission, fly it, and pack up. It's about 30 minutes,” says Officer Travis Rozeboom, who has been with the Papillion Police Department for four years.
He stated that in the past, he has witnessed crash investigations take up to two hours, but now with photogrammetry, the process takes much less time. Using ground control points, they are able to create a map of the area once the drone is in the air.
“Each of those points was measured on all axes. So, X, Y, and Z. So, horizontal, lateral, as well as elevation,” Rozeboom said.
The Part 107 certified drone pilot makes use of a sizeable remote controller, and he is able to view the environment, determine the temperature (if the drone is equipped with a thermal camera), and keep an eye on the aircraft's altitude from the ground.
“You tell it that each of those points is at a predetermined location, and it tightens up that map and makes sure that everything within the map is accurate,” Rozeboom said.
When investigators are looking into a crash, a drone will fly over the scene, take pictures with its camera, and then those pictures will be turned into 2D and 3D models.
“We stitch all of those photographs together and create a two-dimensional, accurate layout of what the scene looked like. We've recently gotten into doing three-dimensional models, though, so we will supplement that by manually taking oblique camera shots,” Rozeboom explained.
In November, the police in Bellevue asked the drone team at Papillon to assist with the investigation of a crash they were looking into.
“It picks up things we may not be able to see on the ground, so having a bird's-eye view of that of some of the skid marks and damage on the roadways and things like that,” Bellevue police Lt. Joe Milos said.
According to Rozeboom, Drone Technology is efficient in terms of cost, quickly obtains detailed information, and reduces the amount of manpower required.
This enables them to allocate resources to the areas in which they are required the most.
“If you've got 10 officers working a crash scene, that's 10 officers, you're likely paying overtime after hours, whereas you could send maybe one drone pilot out, maybe two, and be in and out in less than an hour,” Rozeboom said.
The Papillion Police Department might be interested to know that mapping the scene of a crime or accident can be completed even faster with drone technology from Skyebrowse.
Skyebrowse uses video footage instead of aerial photos to create the map. Using the Skybrowse software, the drone flies autonomously over the scene, and you will have your model ready in minutes.
Photos courtesy of KETV7.
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