Cincinnati police drone surprises suspect on rooftop

Cincinnati police made their first-ever, drone-assisted arrest earlier this month. A man hoping to evade the cops hid on a downtown roof. Watch as the resigned suspect surrenders to the police drone.

Officers were searching for a man with multiple felony warrants. They believed he was hiding in a downtown building, but were unable to find him. That is, until one officer flew the department’s drone six stories into the air. His hiding place was fairly obvious, but his reaction is a little unexpected. Watch at 0:49.

“Someone on the ground was talking to him on the cell phone and said, ‘Look behind you,'” says drone pilot Sgt. Eric Franz. “He turned around and saw the drone. Got up, lit a cigarette and gave us the one-second sign.”

He was booked later that afternoon.

Suspect surrenders to the police drone

“We’re not looking for people jaywalking or running red lights,” says Franz. “We’re using this technology to find violent criminals and apprehend them.”

We’ve seen many incidents of police using drones to find missing hikers, but actually snooping out people trying to evade them is fairly uncommon. Cincinnati-area cybersecurity expert David Hatter says he hopes police will be transparent with the video they collect from drones as the technology becomes increasingly popular.

“I think it’s the future,” he told WCPO Cincinnati. “I think we’ll see more of this as the cost goes down and the capabilities go up.”

Franz says the Cincinnati force expects to acquire more drones this month.

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