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One of three drones used by Thunder Bay Police as part of their drone program which have aided investigations from traffic collisions and enforcement to missing persons (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

Police drone program expands

By Adam Riley Jun 11, 2023 | 11:41 PM

After being introduced five years ago the Thunder Bay Police has seen great success with its drone program, so much so that it has expanded it.

Acting Sergeant Tom Armstrong says $50,000 has been invested so far and the improvements to investigations it has provided is an immeasurable amount to be able to put a dollar figure on.

“Simply looking at something like a motor vehicle collision it cuts the time down, cuts the time for officers on the scene, cuts the time for road closures down by a significant portion. So its far more efficient and gives us better evidence at the end of it.”

Three drones are currently in service including a large unit equipped with a spotlight and thermal imaging among other tools, which Armstrong says is incredible to see the quality and abilities displayed.

“The camera on that thing, you can read a license plate at 500 metres, the zoom capabilities on it are incredible, and it’s also got a thermal camera so it allows us to essentially see the body heat of a person.”

Quite often that unit is used for missing persons cases, and even assisted officers during a traffic enforcement blitz late last year.

Another unit is an extremely small unit which can be used to assess situations in an indoor setting.

All the units, unlike civilian models are able to be used in no fly zones such as near air and heliports but are done so with clearance from authorities.



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