Riverside Police Acquire Drone Technology

The Riverside Township Police Department has just added a small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS), also known as a drone to the fleet.  The purpose of the sUAS is  to increase the safety and effectiveness of our police investigations, while ensuring residents privacy and security.

Drone technology enables police departments to quickly find lost and missing people, de-escalate situations and utilize time, distance to reduce Use of Force encounters and optimize community and officer safety. 

These devices also provide a distinct viewpoint that can reveal information not easily gathered on the ground. An aerial view is invaluable in locating lost and missing persons and can quickly clear areas that are difficult an time consuming to maneuver on land. 

At night, the thermal imaging feature enhances officer safety and  has the potential to locate a person that simply could not be seen with the naked eye, such as a suspect that runs behind a building, down an alley, or into a wooded area.  One of the first uses of the sUAS was to assist officers in searching for suspects that were burglarizing cars at night.

All operators for this program will complete an extensive training course and be licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration.  The sUAS will be used in a constitutionally and legally sound manner by trained and certified personnel, to conduct operations and investigations, such as search and rescue and apprehending fleeing suspects.  The drone will be utilized for specific tasks, not for general surveillance.  

The drone is designed for outdoor use and features a camera capable of thermal imaging, microphone and spotlight for commands and illumination,  The drone also has the ability to carry and deliver small payloads, and take high quality pictures and videos.  The drone was acquired with forfeiture funding from criminal investigations at no cost to the Township.

Drone Demo Video

View of deer at night using thermal imager.
Drone View Video