Chico Police Use Thermal Drone Technology to Apprehend a Fleeing Felon

The Chico Department (CPD) in the state of was able to catch a wanted criminal with the help of a thermal drone.

After being confronted by the police at the intersection of Humboldt Avenue and Little Chico Creek, the suspect, Branden Thurston, aged 26, made his escape on foot into the dense undergrowth of Little Chico Creek.

Because there was already a pending criminal warrant for Thurston's arrest, the authorities made it a top priority to capture him. However, due to the dense, thorny vegetation, it was difficult to send out a K-9 unit to search for him.

Thermal drone tech comes to the rescue

The unmanned aircraft system (UAS) used by the CPD was equipped with thermal imaging and a system. Both of these helped the officers find the hiding suspect.

Law enforcement then detained Thurston and placed him under arrest. According to the CPD, the use of can be implemented rapidly and offers real-time intelligence, both of which can be challenging to acquire using more conventional approaches.

For the sake of openness and transparency, the police department maintains a log of all police flights, including those conducted by drones, and makes this log available to the public.

As a result of how well drone technology worked during this operation, it is likely that law enforcement agencies will use drones more often in the future, reports KRCR.

Chico Police Use Thermal Drone Technology To Apprehend A Fleeing Felon

You can read more about thermal drones being used for good here on DroneXL.

Photos courtesy of the Chico Police Department.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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