The Saskatchewan RCMP is aiming to expand the use of remotely piloted aircraft systems, or drones, in the province. With 29 front-line officers already trained as RPAS pilots, and having drones in 33 percent of the detachments already, they are aiming to have at least one drone and trained officer in every detachment by April of next year.
“We’re really excited to see this project take flight,” said Inspector Devin Pugh in a written release. He is the Officer in Charge of Saskatchewan RCMP’s Support Services Section. “By utilizing this innovative technology, we are able to provide crucial air support for our officers on the ground in real-time. Expanding this to all of our detachments across Saskatchewan, will most certainly increase our ability to effectively respond to crimes in progress and support search and rescue operations much more efficiently,”
The RCMP are aiming to use the drones in a variety of manners. The way they are used will depend on the type of aircraft deployed.
The Mavic, a multi-rotor drone, will have a variety of tasks, including crime scene photographs, motor vehicle accident reconstruction, reconnaissance of hazardous environments and short-term critical incident monitoring. The Sky Fury, a fixed-wing drone, will be used for search and rescue operations, responding to and monitoring critical incidents and disaster response.
The release from the RCMP also highlighted that the use of drones will only be for assistance in investigations, and calls for service when warranted. If there is an expectation of the public’s provacy judicial authorization of the consent from the property owner is required. The drones will not be used for widespread surveillance under normal circumstances, and pilots are required to document every flight, including where the flight took place and the purpose of the flight.
Last weekend, the Saskatchewan RCMP used a Sky Fury drone in North Battleford as part of a two-day pilot project. The drone will be used for active calls of service only, with a trained pilot flying the drone, and an additional officer relaying the information to officers on the scene.