Skip to content

Widespread adoption of RCMP drones impending

Sundre RCMP detachment commander calls Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems “the wave of the future”
File image

SUNDRE – The Sundre RCMP detachment's commander recently informed Sundre's council about plans to deploy drones to RCMP detachments throughout the province largely for use in responding to high-risk situations.

“It’s the wave of the future,” Sgt. Trent Sperlie, Sundre RCMP department’s commander, told council during the regular Feb. 12 meeting.

Sperlie was presenting council some highlights from crime statistics outlined in a third quarter report.

“Over the last decade, the RCMP has utilized Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) to support our specialized units…which has been incredibly effective for enhancing police and public safety,” reads part of his written submission to council, which can be found in full on the municipality’s website as part of the background in the meeting’s agenda package.

“Although the advancement of technology benefits industry and recreation, it facilitates greater accessibility for criminals, which requires a strategic response,” reads part of his report.

“To remain current in our ever-changing environment, and to be responsive to public reviews that call for better access to air support such as the Nova Scotia Mass Casualty Commission of Inquiry, we are actively researching and testing new technologies in a policing environment to enhance public safety.”

And remotely operated systems open new doors to potential police applications in certain situations, including crime photography, search and rescue as well as unfolding critical incidents such as an active shooter, he wrote.

“While we will always need a helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft for the movement of resources, these larger assets are not always immediately available. RPAS technology is providing an opportunity for our communities to effectively have their own police air support, at a significantly lower cost.”

Following his presentation of crime statistics, Sperlie was asked a question by Coun. Owen Petersen.

“After reading your letter, I was just really hoping you were going to come with a bunch of drones," said Petersen, eliciting some laughter from the chamber.

“You don’t use that word, but I assume that’s what you’re speaking of?” the councillor asked.

“That is correct, yes. We do utilize drones for special teams right now,” replied Sperlie.

“They used one actually out in Didsbury’s area during the shelter-in-place incident and they had great results with it. So, they’re looking at expanding that.”

The sergeant added he did not yet know the precise details of the vision the RCMP has in mind for drones going forward.

But he told council, “I think what they’re looking at is ultimately, each detachment’s going to have their own drone. It would be an excellent tool to be first on the scene for certain types of high-risk calls.”

That way, officers dispatched to the scene of a potentially dangerous situation would have the ability to scout out in advance and be better prepared upon arrival.

Simon Ducatel

About the Author: Simon Ducatel

Simon Ducatel joined Mountain View Publishing in 2015 after working for the Vulcan Advocate since 2007, and graduated among the top of his class from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's journalism program in 2006.
Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks