In the small town of Linn in Wisconsin (about 2,200 people), the police department purchased drones to ensure public safety. The initiative included the procurement of three DJI drones that help out in various ways.
As a result of the drone use, the Linn Police department has been able to reduce the manpower needed to respond in situations by as much as 50%. Specifically, it is using drones for search and rescue operations, especially around the lake in town and to survey road damage. The drones are also being used to provide aerial images of buildings and infrastructure for maintenance and repairs to be completed.
Within the first three or four months of the [drones] purchase, Bushey’s department received a call from a resident who couldn’t find her husband. Evidence suggested the man was in a particular part of the lake. A drone was launched, and after two minutes of flight time, the police found the husband.
During the COVID pandemic, the police used drones to patrol the town without needing manpower on the ground which has allowed social distancing to be better followed and reduce the risk of police officers getting the virus.
“The use of drone technology enables us to not only protect our community better and more efficiently, but we’re also able to help neighboring jurisdictions. We all face similar manpower and equipment challenges, so unmanned aerial capabilities make a huge difference for solving cases,” James Bushey, Chief of the Town of Linn Police Department said at the time. “Combined with the ability to patrol while maintaining social distancing, we’re more confident than ever in our ability to protect our residents.”
The three drones the Linn Police has bought include the DJI Inspire equipped with the DJI XT thermal camera, an older drone but still very capable; the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual; and the smaller DJI Spark.
If a small town in Wisconsin can use drones to its advantage, chances are your city can do it, as well. It doesn't take a fortune to get started and even some older drones could get the job done for a start. Create a procurement plan that includes both drones and training and get started. Chances are the first results would be visible in a month after drones start operating. And the best part is that these same drones could also be used by other departments that may require aerial imaging of some kind.
If your company is (still) not in a "drones business," perhaps now's the time to get started. Instead of focusing on drone imports, you could focus on training and education, as well as offering turnkey solutions to municipalities you serve. The story outlined here shows a small town in Wisconsin is benefiting from the use of drones and chances are a similar success could be replicated in other cities. The reduced manpower alone should be enough for a good pitch let alone other efficiencies and even new qualities that could be delivered with high-quality aerial imaging.
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