Today the Police Department will begin a 90-day pilot program where drones will be deployed as a first responder. The department will use a drone launched from a city building rooftop to respond to emergency calls. The drone will provide officers responding to certain scenes an extra set of eyes from above, help catch suspects fleeing, and allow some calls to be cleared without an officer response. During the current COVID-19 emergency, we hope the drone response will decrease the need for an officer to make in-person contact in some situations.
The pilot program is modeled after a similar program currently in operation in the City of Chula Vista, CA. Since October 2018, Chula Vista PD drones have responded to over 2,000 emergency calls. The drone program is credited with assisting in over 270 arrests and arrives on scene before patrol officers 50% of the time. Additionally, the drone has allowed Chula Vista to avoid sending patrol officers to over 480 calls, freeing up officers to respond to other emergencies. For more information on the Chula Vista Drone as a First Responder Program visit:
Since 2018, the Clovis Police Department has operated a patrol drone program authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration. With 9 trained pilots and 15 drones, the program has been successful in the apprehension of many criminals and the drones have helped keep our officers and city safe. We hope the same of this new pilot program. Upon conclusion of the 90-day pilot, the Chief of Police will use data collected from the pilot to determine if the program will be extended into the future.