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Police in small towns in Ogden, Utah, and the U.S. are using these surveillance technologies

Police in small towns in Ogden, Utah, and the U.S. are using these surveillance technologies

One afternoon, Heather West, who was researching gray collections in the license plate database, and Josh Terry, an analyst who saw the kidnapper in a Cowboys jacket, drove a drone into an airplane. a golf course owned by the city on the edge of the city. The West was in control; Terry followed the path of the drone into the sky and maintained a “state awareness” for the crew; another detective aimed at the iPad showing what the drone was seeing, where and how it was flying.

Among all the gadgets under the hood at a real-time crime center, drones can be very well regulated, with safety rules (but not privacy) and revised by the Federal Aviation Administration. In Ogden, a resident of a large Air Force base, these rules are compounded by the flight restrictions that cover most of the city. The police department had to refuse to take its drones off the ground; it took two years to develop the policies and get the necessary permits to start flying.

Analyst Joshua Terry, who does a lot of the work of a real-time crime center map, with a drone.


The police department purchased its drones to handle complex events such as large public events or hostage situations. But, as Dave Weloth soon found out, “the more we use drones, the more use cases we find.” At the real-time crime center, Terry, who did a master’s in geographic information technology, took me on a tour of the city with images collected on recent drone flights, clicking on cloud-like spots, assembled from composite photos of the drone. dotted Ogden map.

On 21st Street and Washington, he was approached by a serious accident caused by a motorcycle with a red light. A bloody sheet covered the driver’s body, his legs spread out on the sidewalk, surrounded by a ring of fire trucks. Within minutes, the drone’s cameras explored the scene and created a centimeter-long 3D model, replacing the complex choreography of placeholders and fixed cameras on the ground, sometimes leaving the main intersections closed after the crash.

No one thought so much that he quietly thought that homeless people had become a sight that was often captured by the police department’s drone program.

When a region hit strong wind storm last September, Terry flew a drone over fallen trees in the city and massive piles of brushes. When they saw that the volumetric analysis (12,938 cubic meters) concluded by regional officials would be submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, they asked the police department to perform the same service for the next two villages. Ogden drones have also been used to determine hot spots after forest fires, locate missing persons and fly “surveillance” for SWAT group attacks.

This flight was more common. As I entered the parking lot, two officers from the Ogden community police unit watched as West directed the craft to a dense Gambel oak grove and then placed it on a triangular fortress on a hill about a hundred yards away. Although they had never encountered people immersed in drones in the area, garbage and temporary structures were common. Once the RTCC determined the location of all the camps, community service officials would walk in to take a closer look. “We get positive feedback from runners, mountaineers,” one official explained. After he had just moved to a camp near the pond on 21st Street, he and the accompanying social services workers from the region found housing for the two people he found there. When cleaning the camps, the police also “try to connect [people] with the services they need, “Weloth said. The department recently hired a full-time homeless coordinator to help.” We can’t police ourselves in the face of this problem, “he said. comparing.

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