Brantford police add drone to investigative tools

News Nov 14, 2017 by Mike Peeling Brant News

If you hear a buzz in the air or see a bird hovering above you, it might just be the Brantford Police Service’s drone.

The city police recently acquired an Aeryon Sky Ranger drone, also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), to assist in investigations.

Media officer Shane Seibert said the drone has proven useful for investigating and reconstructing collision scenes.

Seibert said the drone has already been deployed at the scene of what proved to be a fatal collision on Paris Road between a car and a transport truck on Oct. 23. On Nov. 6, the drone was used in a collision that left a teen boy seriously injured.

Three of the five officers trained to fly the drone showcased the four propeller-driven aircraft (also called a quadcopter) on Tuesday at Brantford Police Service headquarters for the media.

Sgt. Dave Disher, who heads the UAV unit, said they can have the drone in the air in five minutes.

In addition to be very portable, the UAV can be fitted with video camera, a high-resolution still camera and an infrared camera.

Disher was tasked by Chief Geoff Nelson with developing a business case to justify the acquisition of a UAV.

Seibert pointed out that many other police departments were already using them and proving how useful they could be.

“It’s another tool in our investigative belt,” Seibert said. “As the city grows, our needs as a police service have grown. The drone has already proven useful.”

Last year the Brantford police saw just how useful a UAV could be in the search for missing persons. After 45-year-old Jeffrey Roberts was reported missing, the police spent days looking for him.

Roberts was known to spend time camping and fishing along the Grand River, so Brantford police asked the Ontario Provincial Police to help them by deploying one of their UAVs. At the time the OPP drone operators showed how the drone’s camera could penetrate the shroud of the river water to find signs of missing people. The infrared camera picks up heat signatures.

While the drone didn’t find Roberts near the river, it saved the Brantford police and volunteers numerous hours scouring the difficult terrain. Roberts was eventually found, deceased, in an industrial area.

Drone operator Ted Pottruff, a detective constable with the forensics department, showed off the UAV’s live video stream as it hovered one kilometre above the Lowe’s parking lot about one km away. The video was fairly detailed and gave the viewer a good sense of the activity underway.

A tablet allowed Pottruff to see where the drone was on a live map and use a digital pen to move the drone from one spot to another.

Seibert said residents may be concerned a police drone could be used to violate their privacy and wants to allay those fears.

“The use of the BPS UAV is for investigative purposes and is not meant to be used as a spy tool against the general public,” Seibert said. “It is to be used to assist investigations and not randomly flown around invading people’s privacy.”

The commercial grade UAV can stay in the air around 30 minutes, is powered by a battery and can withstand all kinds of extreme weather.

Besides Disher and Pottruff, the other drone operators are Const. Kelly Renzini of the traffic unit, and community patrol officers Damian Muchowski and Ben Alexander.

All of them took a three-day training course at Aeryon’s ground flight school. The police also acquired a licence to operate the drone from Transport Canada.

For all of the equipment, software and training, the cost was approximately $100,000.

Brantford police add drone to investigative tools

Unmanned aerial vehicle proving its value

News Nov 14, 2017 by Mike Peeling Brant News

If you hear a buzz in the air or see a bird hovering above you, it might just be the Brantford Police Service’s drone.

The city police recently acquired an Aeryon Sky Ranger drone, also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), to assist in investigations.

Media officer Shane Seibert said the drone has proven useful for investigating and reconstructing collision scenes.

Seibert said the drone has already been deployed at the scene of what proved to be a fatal collision on Paris Road between a car and a transport truck on Oct. 23. On Nov. 6, the drone was used in a collision that left a teen boy seriously injured.

Three of the five officers trained to fly the drone showcased the four propeller-driven aircraft (also called a quadcopter) on Tuesday at Brantford Police Service headquarters for the media.

Sgt. Dave Disher, who heads the UAV unit, said they can have the drone in the air in five minutes.

In addition to be very portable, the UAV can be fitted with video camera, a high-resolution still camera and an infrared camera.

Disher was tasked by Chief Geoff Nelson with developing a business case to justify the acquisition of a UAV.

Seibert pointed out that many other police departments were already using them and proving how useful they could be.

“It’s another tool in our investigative belt,” Seibert said. “As the city grows, our needs as a police service have grown. The drone has already proven useful.”

Last year the Brantford police saw just how useful a UAV could be in the search for missing persons. After 45-year-old Jeffrey Roberts was reported missing, the police spent days looking for him.

Roberts was known to spend time camping and fishing along the Grand River, so Brantford police asked the Ontario Provincial Police to help them by deploying one of their UAVs. At the time the OPP drone operators showed how the drone’s camera could penetrate the shroud of the river water to find signs of missing people. The infrared camera picks up heat signatures.

While the drone didn’t find Roberts near the river, it saved the Brantford police and volunteers numerous hours scouring the difficult terrain. Roberts was eventually found, deceased, in an industrial area.

Drone operator Ted Pottruff, a detective constable with the forensics department, showed off the UAV’s live video stream as it hovered one kilometre above the Lowe’s parking lot about one km away. The video was fairly detailed and gave the viewer a good sense of the activity underway.

A tablet allowed Pottruff to see where the drone was on a live map and use a digital pen to move the drone from one spot to another.

Seibert said residents may be concerned a police drone could be used to violate their privacy and wants to allay those fears.

“The use of the BPS UAV is for investigative purposes and is not meant to be used as a spy tool against the general public,” Seibert said. “It is to be used to assist investigations and not randomly flown around invading people’s privacy.”

The commercial grade UAV can stay in the air around 30 minutes, is powered by a battery and can withstand all kinds of extreme weather.

Besides Disher and Pottruff, the other drone operators are Const. Kelly Renzini of the traffic unit, and community patrol officers Damian Muchowski and Ben Alexander.

All of them took a three-day training course at Aeryon’s ground flight school. The police also acquired a licence to operate the drone from Transport Canada.

For all of the equipment, software and training, the cost was approximately $100,000.

Brantford police add drone to investigative tools

Unmanned aerial vehicle proving its value

News Nov 14, 2017 by Mike Peeling Brant News

If you hear a buzz in the air or see a bird hovering above you, it might just be the Brantford Police Service’s drone.

The city police recently acquired an Aeryon Sky Ranger drone, also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), to assist in investigations.

Media officer Shane Seibert said the drone has proven useful for investigating and reconstructing collision scenes.

Seibert said the drone has already been deployed at the scene of what proved to be a fatal collision on Paris Road between a car and a transport truck on Oct. 23. On Nov. 6, the drone was used in a collision that left a teen boy seriously injured.

Three of the five officers trained to fly the drone showcased the four propeller-driven aircraft (also called a quadcopter) on Tuesday at Brantford Police Service headquarters for the media.

Sgt. Dave Disher, who heads the UAV unit, said they can have the drone in the air in five minutes.

In addition to be very portable, the UAV can be fitted with video camera, a high-resolution still camera and an infrared camera.

Disher was tasked by Chief Geoff Nelson with developing a business case to justify the acquisition of a UAV.

Seibert pointed out that many other police departments were already using them and proving how useful they could be.

“It’s another tool in our investigative belt,” Seibert said. “As the city grows, our needs as a police service have grown. The drone has already proven useful.”

Last year the Brantford police saw just how useful a UAV could be in the search for missing persons. After 45-year-old Jeffrey Roberts was reported missing, the police spent days looking for him.

Roberts was known to spend time camping and fishing along the Grand River, so Brantford police asked the Ontario Provincial Police to help them by deploying one of their UAVs. At the time the OPP drone operators showed how the drone’s camera could penetrate the shroud of the river water to find signs of missing people. The infrared camera picks up heat signatures.

While the drone didn’t find Roberts near the river, it saved the Brantford police and volunteers numerous hours scouring the difficult terrain. Roberts was eventually found, deceased, in an industrial area.

Drone operator Ted Pottruff, a detective constable with the forensics department, showed off the UAV’s live video stream as it hovered one kilometre above the Lowe’s parking lot about one km away. The video was fairly detailed and gave the viewer a good sense of the activity underway.

A tablet allowed Pottruff to see where the drone was on a live map and use a digital pen to move the drone from one spot to another.

Seibert said residents may be concerned a police drone could be used to violate their privacy and wants to allay those fears.

“The use of the BPS UAV is for investigative purposes and is not meant to be used as a spy tool against the general public,” Seibert said. “It is to be used to assist investigations and not randomly flown around invading people’s privacy.”

The commercial grade UAV can stay in the air around 30 minutes, is powered by a battery and can withstand all kinds of extreme weather.

Besides Disher and Pottruff, the other drone operators are Const. Kelly Renzini of the traffic unit, and community patrol officers Damian Muchowski and Ben Alexander.

All of them took a three-day training course at Aeryon’s ground flight school. The police also acquired a licence to operate the drone from Transport Canada.

For all of the equipment, software and training, the cost was approximately $100,000.