SAN ANGELO, Texas – “DPS is happy to announce as of March 10, we have our own drone here. This drone is really gonna be useful for a lot of things here within the department,” Sgt. Justin Baker with the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
Baker says, the new drone will be utilized for a variety of scenarios.
“Crime scene footage, crash scene reconstruction, we can use it for tactical operations. Even with hazmat spills, now we can talk about officer safety, we can get that drone up in the air and it can fly over there and get those important numbers off of a hazmat vehicle, so we know whether we need to get over there. So there’s a lot of useful things that this can be used for locally,” Baker said.
He also says DPS will not use the drone to infringe on the privacy of citizens.
“When these things are up in the air we’ve already got a route that these drones are programmed to fly. Any footage that’s gonna be obtained is gonna be recorded and maintained on records and any of that footage that we get, whether it’s intended footage or unintended footage, it has to be reported back to the governor’s office and that’s mandated by government code 423. We’re gonna make sure that nothing’s being picked up that shouldn’t be,” Baker said.
Drone operators also have to follow FAA protocol and maintain their training and certification on a regular basis.
“Like with any airplane or helicopter these operators are going to be communicating with the towers, with other aircraft, and again regulating their flight time through the FAA,” Baker said.