Yeah, we know you’ve seen arrest videos before. Maybe a suspect, running away while police close in. But, trust us on this, you have never seen a video like this one. Until now.
Drones can be amazing tools for law enforcement. And they can be used in so many different ways. Aerial photography and videography can quickly document the scene at a serious auto accident, for example, so that the road can be cleared in a much shorter period of time. They can be used in search and rescue operations, including night-time searches using thermal imaging. (These now happen so often the footage almost seems routine.) Monitoring or crowds during demonstrations or riots? A drone can do it. Assessing damage following a natural disaster? Delivering medications? Monitoring a suspect’s location before officers on the ground move in? Use a drone.
There are more examples, or course. But that last one – using a drone during apprehension of a suspect – is the subject of this story.
A murder suspect
In this case, the Atlanta Police Department wanted to apprehend a suspect wanted for murder. In cases like this, officers want to minimize risk. Does the suspect have a weapon? Will he resist? Those are frequently possibilities. In a scenario like this, a drone can be the first ‘officer’ on the scene. The drone’s video feed gives police a real-time view without placing anyone at risk. In this case, the drone is a Mavic 2 Enterprise. It is equipped with lights and a speaker. Instructions from police can be given over the speaker.
In the case we’re about to see, the Atlanta Police Department had deployed its Fugitive, SWAT and Homicide units. We’ll let the APD pick it up from here:
Antonio Demetrice Rhynes was arrested without resistance. He is charged with the October 3 murder of Thomas Jefferson Byrd.
And the use of the drone – and the release of this footage – illustrates just how important drones can be to law enforcement. One of the people who took great interest in this footage is Romeo Durscher, DJI’s Director of Public Safety Integration, and a person who was deeply involved in the development of the Mavic 2 Enterprise.
The real advantage is that this drone was able to easily enter the room, clear it and then keep eyes on the surrendering suspect in the hallway. That is huge mitigation of risk and increases transparency. That night everyone went home safely – except one person didn’t go home but to jail. This is really what I had envisioned when I pushed for the M2E.
Romeo Durscher, DJI
There’s something else about the release of that footage, says Durscher, that goes beyond the gripping nature of the scene.
It’s great footage. More importantly, – it’s footage that has gotten released. Which also shows that data collected by law enforcement by drone is not always so sensitive.
Romeo Durscher, DJI
Of course, suspects are always innocent until proven guilty. But for the daughter of the murder victim, this step brings the family potentially a step further to closure.
Kudos to the Atlanta Police Department – and the drone pilot.