Stillwater Police Using Drones to Help Catch Criminals

KOKH - January 30, 2023 7:01 am

Drones in Stillwater are helping law enforcement catch criminals.

Last week in Stillwater, a DUI crash suspect ran from the scene into the woods.

Authorities were able to use “Goliath” to catch him.

“We were able to determine that there was a heat signal conducive to a person and it looked like they were laying on the ground and directed law enforcement,” said Rob Hill, the Stillwater Emergency Management Director. “What we did in 40 minutes could have taken all night long.”

With this emerging technology, in an area that was pitch black, the suspect was caught.

“All he said was ‘you got me,'” said Hill.

The Stillwater Emergency Management’s drone program started in 2014. They started small, and eventually progressed to bigger, more powerful drones with the latest technology.

This new tool at Stillwater Emergency Management can fly higher and see further we’re 400 feet up and it can see all the way down to the ground crystal clear.

“It has a 4k camera with digital and optical zoom, can read license plates up to 2 miles away, we can use thermal imaging like we did earlier this week at night to see heat signatures, and then we have the ability to use thermal to see what they call night vision,” said Hill.

They can also track targets from miles away, and at the mobile command vehicle they can talk to crews live in the field from manhunts to wildfires.

“We know that they’re very, very useful tools but with everything comes an expense,” Hill said. “There’s the expense of the aircraft, there’s the expense of the training, there’s the expense of putting together the team and keeping the team up to speed.”

Goliath gets used about 30 times a year.

And with the success of this program Stillwater Emergency Management is considering investing in another smaller drone.


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