In the summer of 2019, the Portsmouth Police Department added a small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) unit to our specialized units. Currently the department has seven officers trained in their operation. All members are certified FAA Part 107 pilots authorized to fly unmanned aircraft.
The department received federal grant monies for the purchase of seven sUAS and peripherals. Each platform has different capabilities for which is dependent on specific operations. The Portsmouth Police Department operates the (1) DJI Matrice 210 with the Zenmuse Z30 and Zenmuse FLIR XT2 Cameras, (2) DJI Mavic Enterprise, (1) DJI Mavic Zoom, (2) DJI Mavic Air, and (1) DJI Mavic Spark.
All deployments of the sUAS must specifically be authorized by the sUAS Supervisor or the Chief of Police. The Portsmouth Police Department has adopted the use of sUAS to provide an aerial visual perspective in responding to emergency situations for the City as well as being available to assist with the following objectives regionally:
- Situational Awareness: To assist Incident Commanders in understanding the nature, scale and scope of an incident and/or for planning and coordinating and effective response.
- Search and Rescue: To assist missing person investigations, Amber Alerts, Alzheimer Patients, and other search and rescue missions.
- Tactical Deployment: To support the tactical operations in providing over watch and observation.
- Visual Perspective: Provide an aerial visual to assist officers and commanders to provide direction for crowd control, traffic incident management, and temporary perimeter security.
- Scene Documentation: To document a crime scene, accident scene, disaster management, incident response or forensic investigation.
- Fire Fighting: Assist firefighting efforts through the use of thermal imaging and provide aerial perspectives to help fire commanders determine the best and safest methods of fire suppression.
Any individual that is looking for more information about the sUAS unit is invited to contact the Unit Supervisor, Lt. Chris Cummings.
[Photos: Rich Beauchesne]
*Drone activity as of September 11th, 2020