CO law enforcement receives lesson on drone safety at national conference in Bend

(Update: added information and video)

Day 2 of Law Enforcement Drone Association National Conference kicks off in Bend

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – More than 40 law enforcement agencies are gaining first-hand drone safety experience this week at a national conference in Bend.

The Law Enforcement Drone Association is hosting its second annual sold-out national conference this week at the Christian Life Center. Law enforcement officers are learning “best practices and standardization of drone use in public safety,” the organization said.

Brandon Karr, a Texas police officer and LEDA member, told NewsChannel 21 that the organization wanted to expose legal agencies to the latest drone technologies, but the ultimate goal was to turn LEDA training courses into a standardized practice for all law enforcement agencies.

“We’re trying to develop this into the leading standard that every agency is going to use for basic pilot proficiency,” Karr said.

At the Bend Police Department, drones have been in use since 2016. The department has nine certified pilots, according to Sgt. Tom Pine, who is also a member of the LEDA board of directors.

“We use them for missing persons and search and rescue missions,” Pine said. “We are able to choose the right drone for the right scenario. “

As drones become more ubiquitous in law enforcement agencies, Karr said they are creating a safer environment not only for police but also for communities.

“Drones offer a perspective that we normally wouldn’t have,” Karr said. “It’s a huge benefit for the community… to implement technologies to provide a safer community.”

Law enforcement officers receive classroom instruction, then learn outdoor flight scenarios. Other items on the agenda include risk mitigation and liability, FAA updates, and night flight procedures. The conference will continue for two more days.

About Stephen Arrington

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