Eye in the sky: Peterborough police to use drone in traffic investigations

A new drone is expected to help the Peterborough Police Service with traffic investigations.

The service purchased the drone at the end of December 2019. According to Sgt. Ryan Wilson, the device will be primarily used for traffic purposes.

“Anytime we have a fatal collision or a serious bodily harm collision, we can use that to grab aerial photography,” he said. “We can use (the images) to give a point of view of what a driver might have been seeing at the time of a collision.

“Down the road, we might progress to using it for GPS measuring to free up some resources from shooting the actual measurements at a collision scene.”

Currently, Const. Matt Cumming is the only service member licensed to pilot the drone. Wilson said Cumming took extensive training to earn an advanced operation certificate from Transport Canada.

Cumming has been primarily practising flights with the drone, but it was used to assist in the removal of vehicles found in the Otonabee River in late December, Wilson said.

“It’s definitely a piece of equipment you can use where there’s not necessarily an officer who could get that vantage point as this piece of equipment can,” he said.

Wilson says that currently, there are no plans to expand the service’s drone usage as police are still “getting our feet wet” with the new investigative tool.

The service paid just under $2,000 for the drone, Wilson said.

“When you think about the cost and some of the resources we might have to use otherwise, it’s not a bad investment on our part,” said Wilson.

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