Tennessee Police Department Preps to Deploy its New UAV

Tennessee’s Spring Hill Police Department (SHPD) recently purchased an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) they say will help officers get a bird’s-eye view in many critical situations.

According to the SHPD, the drone will help during HAZMAT incidents, traffic crashes, search-and-rescue missions and hostage situations. The technology will also help track suspects on the run; monitor traffic; and examine storm water drainage issues, roadway construction projects, traffic flow patterns or any issues that may impact roadway safety.

“To be clear, the drone will not be used for traffic enforcement or issuing citations, invasion of privacy, surveillance, or other uses deemed improper,” states Police Chief Don Brite. “Use of a UAV will be allowed in any situation where a search warrant has been obtained. To further calm any fears about the use of the aircraft, there will not be any weapons attached to it.”

Today, the Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen is expected to vote on the SHPD’s UAV operations policy, which was discussed at the board’s July 3 work session.

The SHPD says Detective Geoff Betts became federally licensed in April to fly the drone. The SHPD’s drone policy requires the aircraft to be operated only by Betts or another trained individual under the direct supervision of Betts. In addition, Chief Brite or his designee must pre-approve all flights.

Eventually, two additional officers will become certified to fly, the department notes.

Photo courtesy of Jamie Page, City of Spring Hill

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