An Autel EVO II Dual thermal drone saved the day for a Nevada sheriff’s department when a suspect fleeing into the cover of darkness could be located because of his “heat signature.”
The incident took place while the sheriff’s department was working with California-based UAV dealer Advexure to implement a drone program. Sheriff’s deputy and remote pilot Nick Greenhut happened to be using a leased Autel drone to watch the vehicle of the suspects while the ground team arrived to arrest the two men.
While one suspect was apprehended pretty quickly, the other fled the scene on foot into the night.
Typically, when that happens, the person running gets away because there’s not a great way to maintain visuals in the dark. However, Greenhut used the EVO II’s thermal camera to explore the area until he found the suspect attempting to hide behind a tree. Greenhut locked the drone’s sight in on the man until backup arrived to arrest him.
Advexure CEO Travis Waibel, who works closely with public safety agencies across the US to implement drones in public safety programs, calls the mission one of the perfect examples of how drones serve as a force multiplier and enhance safety for deputies first on the scene. Here’s Waibel:
Deputy Greenhut was able to get eyes on the suspect and provide intel to his responding partners to advise them on the suspect’s whereabouts and whether it appeared he had any weapons. This information is very helpful to ensure a safe and effective response when encountering an unknown individual in the dark of night.
This isn’t the first time that a drone came to the aid of law enforcement officers. According to a recent Atlas of Surveillance study, at least 1,172 police departments across the country use drones. Drones are being leveraged for everything from surveillance to search and rescue missions and accident reconstruction.