Video: Chula Vista Police Department Will Use Drones as First Responders

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CHULA VISTA (NEWS 8) – Chula Vista’s mayor and FAA officials on Thursday announced a new test program that would allow trained officers to deploy drones during an emergency – taking their crime fighting efforts to new heights.

The test program was possible through the FAA Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Integrated Pilot Program (IPP). As part of the IPP, drones equipped with Cape Aerial Telepresence software will be deployed to a scene within two minutes from Chula Vista Police Department headquarters, to provide police with video and decision quality data.

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The drones will serve as first responders, assisting in incidents such as life safety, crime in progress, fleeing subjects, fire and more.

Since the Chula Vista Police Department began operations on Monday, October 22, a drone has been deployed 29 times. About 30 percent of those calls were related to some type of disturbance and about 17 percent of the time, drone pilots were able to clear a call without ground units responding (e.g., the subjects were gone), thereby keeping officers free for higher priority calls.

“I am extremely excited that the Chula Vista Police Department was selected to be part of the San Diego IPP program,” said Chula Vista Chief of Police Roxana Kennedy. “Contemporary policing is very challenging, and this technology enhances the safety of our officers and the public. The concept of using drones to respond to calls quickly will ensure our officers have the information and decision quality data to make the best choices in any given situation.”


The drones will be available to assist on service calls for 10 hours per day, with plans to increase over time. Drones will be launched from the roof of the CVPD headquarters and will be teleoperated by an officer in the command center to the location of the call, in most cases arriving well ahead of the responding ground units.

“Chula Vista is modeling the future of drone integration in public safety by utilizing drones as first responders” said Chris Rittler, CEO of Cape.

Other states and cities participating the drone program include: Kansas, Virginia, Alaska and North Dakota and the cities of Reno and Memphis.

See the original video and article by Heather Hope here

News, Public SafetyAlex Weitzel