JPD adds drones to its repertoire


JOPLIN, Mo. — Airborne technology is now an official part of crime fighting for the city of Joplin.

What’s the program?

JPD has a full fledged drone team, with certified pilots putting eyes in the sky. It makes everything from searches to crime scene inspections easier and faster.

JPD Capt. Will Davis, said, “This is new to the field of law enforcement. As technology continues to advance, we’re seeing some pretty neat things, we expect this to continue to evolve.”

Think SWAT Team or the K9 Unit – but this is with drones. Ten Joplin officers are now trained to take an electronic look from the sky.

“This is not like going down to the local electronics store and picking up something off the shelf. It’s very intricate, the systems that are used, the training that goes into it.”

Drone team members must meet FAA certifications, learning about avoiding airplane flight paths and respecting privacy issues. The drone cameras give them a unique perspective on the job.

“Can zoom in with very good clarity on certain areas. There are flir camera attachments that allow you to see night operations, able to see thermal imaging.”

The JPD Drone Team is hitting its first year of operations and members add the job is already different than in 2020.

“We know it’s evolving since the time we started the program the different requirements and even equipment – it’s still continues to get better and better.”

JPD isn’t the only law enforcement agency in the area using drones. The team has also pitched in to help other agencies that don’t have the technology.

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