US-1 Drone Assists During Police Standoff in Campbell, Calif.

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The Campbell Police Department of Santa Clara County, Calif., recently enlisted the help of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) during a police standoff.

Impossible Aerospace, an aircraft manufacturer based in Sunnyvale, Calif., says its US-1 drone made its first public appearance during the incident.

On Friday, Feb. 8, at approximately 5:30 a.m., a customer at a Denny’s Restaurant in Campbell approached an employee in the parking lot. After a brief confrontation, the suspect removed a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at the employee. The suspect then walked back inside the restaurant and sat in a booth, according to the police’s report.

Campbell Police officers arrived at the restaurant and safely evacuated all remaining employees and customers. For the next 11 hours, the Campbell Police SWAT and crisis negotiation teams made numerous unsuccessful attempts to communicate with the suspect to get him to come outside and surrender.

It was not until approximately 3:00 p.m. when the suspect was spotted on the roof of the restaurant. The suspect went back down to the restaurant and continued his refusal to exit. Chemical agents were introduced inside the building, causing the suspect to come outside and surrender. 

Equipped with thermal and optical sensors and a 90-minute battery life, the Impossible Aerospace US-1 provided a persistent aerial view of the perimeter, roof and exits of the building and helped lead to the arrest of the suspect, the company says.

The US-1 provided a regular perimeter scan and more consistent video footage than the county’s helicopter, says Impossible Aerospace. The UAS also confirmed the precision of the teams’ strategies so the authorities could react and plan their next steps. The US-1’s persistent view informed officers that an open kitchen vent was quickly leaking tear gas, which allowed the SWAT team to adjust their strategy and succeed in the arrest.

“During critical incidents, real-time intelligence is extremely important,” says Gary Berg, police captain. “At this recent event involving a barricaded subject with a gun, Impossible Aerospace provided a piece of intelligence that our agency previously has never had access to. The use of the US-1 drone helped us optimize the safety of our officers and the community while providing valuable information to the command post through the live video feed. Fortunately, after almost 12 hours, the suspect was taken into custody safely. We are very appreciative of the assistance that Impossible Aerospace provided during this incident.”

Spencer Gore, CEO of Impossible Aerospace, adds, “We are glad the situation is over and that the Campbell community and all involved are safe.”

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