Fire department will use drones to help police investigations

SPD and fire department use drones to investigate (9-21-17)

SPOKANE, Wash.-- The Spokane Police Department partnered with another emergency responder service to promote safety in the community.

The Spokane Fire Department and SPD joined forces to investigate fatal car crashes using drones.

Officials said the partnership came about when a fatal car crash on Division Street caused major traffic backup along I-90 and SPD needed to get aerial photos of the scene.

Fire Chief, Brian Schaeffer said that was when he decided there had to be a better way.

In the past, detectives used ladder trucks from the fire department to get photos from the scene of a crash, but Chief Schaeffer had a better idea. He said the fire department could use its drones to get footage for police, and the city council agreed.

Schaeffer said the fire department has four drones they use to assist crews while they battle and investigate fires.

"It would essentially remove that hazard of putting a detective on a bucket or up 100 feet, when they are not necessarily trained, it's not the safest thing to do," said Chief Schaeffer. "The drone that we have provides that safer platform and much quicker," he said.

The Spokane Fire Department has been using these drones for a couple months already.

The chief said his drone pilots are well trained and are happy to assist police from now on for fatal crashes and forensic investigations.

Chief Schaeffer wanted to assure the public that police will not be using these drones for sky surveillance or to intrude on anyone's personal lives.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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