Illinois Police Department Set to Reap ‘Endless Benefits’ of Drone Permit

The Village of Orland Park, Ill., says its Orland Park Police Department has become the first local police department in the state of Illinois to be granted a drone permit from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Through an FAA-issued, two-year Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA), the department will fly the DJI Phantom 3 Professional unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which shoots 4K video at up to 30 frames per second and captures 12 mp photos. The police received a grant from the Region 7 Health Care Coalition to purchase the aircraft.

The FAA requires that officers complete private pilot ground school and pass the FAA private pilot written examination in order to fly the drone. The UAS may not fly higher than 400 feet.

The department explains that because of its size, the drone can be transported in the trunk of a patrol car and quickly deployed at an incident. With a hazardous materials incident, the UAS can quickly deliver an aerial view of the scene – providing enhanced situational awareness and allowing first responders to develop an effective response while documenting the scene for subsequent investigation.

Orland Park Police Lieutenant Joe Mitchell oversaw the department’s grant and authorization process.

“We began the process last May and are happy that the police department now has its authorization. It was a very involved process to receive the certification,” Mitchell says. “We have six officers currently being trained to operate the department’s drone.”1391_dji_phantom_3_overhead

“This is an important day for the Orland Park Police Department because they now can use a drone for law enforcement emergencies and to locate missing residents,” says Mayor Dan McLaughlin. “I know that a lot of research and work went into Orland Park getting this certification, and we appreciate the time spent on this project.”

The mayor adds, “There are many instances in Orland Park where a drone will help police on the ground: if a child gets lost, if a fugitive takes off on foot or if a disabled resident wanders off. The benefits are endless.”


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