DJI Drones Unleashed: Brookhaven's Bold Policing Leap
In Brookhaven, Georgia, a suburb northeast of Atlanta, a groundbreaking approach to emergency response is taking to the skies. The Brookhaven Police Department (PD) has shifted DJI drones from the trunk of squad cars to the forefront of first response, showcasing a transformative approach to public safety.
Speed and Insight: The Drone as a First Responder
The Brookhaven PD, serving a diverse community of 60,000, is using Drones as First Responder (DFR) programs to assess emergency situations rapidly before officers arrive. This initiative is not just about technological advancement; it's about enhancing safety, efficiency, and community TRUST.
Lieutenant Abrem Ayana, who joined the force in 2015, recognized the potential of drones for improving nighttime operations. “I was a night shift commander and had so much to say about how we weren't able to catch people at night because they could see us before we saw them,” he recalls. This insight led to the exploration of DFR programs, particularly inspired by the work in Chula Vista, California.
Advanced DJI Drone Technology at the Helm
Brookhaven's DFR program leverages drones from DJI and other manufacturers, controlled by CAPE, a software solution from Motorola Solutions. “There was no other solution that allowed you to remotely operate drones like CAPE did and live stream it,” Ayana notes. The software's dual function of piloting and camera operation enables a comprehensive aerial view of incidents, managed by a team of three full-time personnel.
Navigating regulatory hurdles, the team secured Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) licenses and adhered to new regulations allowing for beyond visual line of sight operations. These advancements in Drone Technology and policy have enabled Brookhaven PD to respond more effectively to emergency calls.
Building Trust with Transparency
A crucial aspect of implementing DFR is addressing privacy concerns. Ayana engaged with the American Civil Liberties Union to fine-tune policies and enhance transparency. The department maintains an online Drone Flight History page, allowing residents to track recent drone activities.
Impact on Community Safety
The introduction of drones has reshaped the way Brookhaven PD responds to emergencies. By providing a bird's-eye view of incidents, drones enable more informed decision-making, potentially reducing the need for police presence and avoiding unnecessary escalations.
Ayana emphasizes the role of drones in resource management rather than direct crime reduction. He recounts an incident where a drone helped track down suspects, minimizing the inconvenience to innocent residents and bolstering public trust.
The Future of Policing
Brookhaven's adoption of the DFR program, detailed in Motorola Solutions' insights, demonstrates a smart use of technology in law enforcement. By leveraging advanced Drone Software like CAPE, the department has set a precedent in the efficient allocation of resources and community-focused policing.
For more details on the CAPE software and its role in transforming first response, you can visit Motorola Solutions. Brookhaven PD's innovative approach exemplifies the potential of technology in enhancing public safety, offering a model for other departments nationwide.
Photos courtesy of the Brookhaven Police Department and Motorola.
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