Tag Archives: LEO

Body of missing Carol Smalley believed to have been found

PUBLISHED: 07:48 10 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:22 10 January 2018

A body believed to be that of Carol Smalley has been found. Picture: Norfolk Police

A body believed to be that of Carol Smalley has been found. Picture: Norfolk Police

A body found at an RSPB nature reserve is believed to be that of a 54-year-old woman who went missing from a Norfolk beach.

A body of a female was found on a beach at Minsmere Nature Reserve in Suffolk on Tuesday.

While police said formal identification of the woman’s body is due to take place, it is believed to be that of 54-year-old Carol Smalley, from Lincolnshire.

Her next of kin have been informed.

Police said the death is not being treated as suspicious and a file for the coroner will now be prepared.

Mrs Smalley was last seen on Wednesday, January 3 with her clothes and a bag found on a beach at Hopton.

Her disappearance had led to extensive searches with police even using a drone.

Previous searches involved lifeboat crews and Coastguard teams, a Lowland Search and Rescue Team and the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Fort Collins police using drones to expedite crash investigations

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In 2017, Fort Collins police launched drones to investigate serious and fatal crashes for the first time.

The program’s first flight was in August, and police used the technology seven times during the course of crash investigations last year.

The drones help police snap photos faster and open roads sooner, according to members of Fort Collins police CRASH team, which responds to serious crashes.

In the past, police had to close the affected road or intersection, use small yellow tents to mark evidence and collect measurements between the markers. They might place anywhere from 40 to 150 evidence tents.

That painstaking process took hours — sometimes more than six — during which frustrated motorists couldn’t drive through the area.

Crashes: 2017 was deadliest year on Fort Collins streets in more than a decade

With the use of drones, police continue to mark evidence with tents but can expedite the process by snapping overhead photos and then calculating measurements after the scene has reopened.

Police will still spend several hours on scene examining evidence and taking close-up photographs, but the drone can help shave several hours off the process.

“At the scene, all we’re really doing with the drone is taking pictures. We can take those pictures and bring them back,” said officer Drew Jurkofsky, a CRASH team member trained in scene reconstruction.

“We’ll still spend two to three hours taking the measurements, but we do that (at the police station) instead of in the roadway.”

Driving: 10,000 Colorado drivers arrested in 2017 DUI patrols

Police also said they close roads or intersections in serious cases but try to limit the closure.

“If you see us taking an entire intersection, it means it’s serious or at least it looks that way on face value,” said Sgt. Sara Lynd, who leads the CRASH team. “We try not to take anything that we don’t need.”

Police emphasize that closing a road protects officers on scene and protects evidence that would otherwise be lost under the tires of passing cars.

Story continues below photo.

“There’s a lot of evidence at a crash scene that isn’t readily apparent,” Jurkofsky said. “A lot of that evidence, if cars drive over it, it’s gone. It’s very transient.”

Drones won’t replace the rest of the investigative techniques police use, though.

“It’s not the end-all be-all,” said officer Tim Brennan, another member of the CRASH team. “There are limitations where you can fly” — such as in areas with dense foliage or power lines, and when the weather is bad. They also take more time when light is low and at night.

That being said, Fort Collins police anticipate that other agencies in the county will begin using drones more regularly in their own crash investigations because they act as a helpful tool in collecting more evidence.

Roads: Where to expect construction in 2018

Fort Collins Police Services, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Loveland and Colorado State University police departments, Poudre Fire Authority, and Loveland Fire Rescue Authority collectively launched a regional unmanned aerial system program in late June 2017 to assist in investigations, including serious crashes and backcountry search and rescue operations.

The six participating agencies have a total of five drones, and each agency has a group of FAA-certified pilots. They’ve outlined polices, procedures, and privacy and safety information on larimeruas.com.

Reporter Cassa Niedringhaus covers breaking news for the Coloradoan. Follow her on Twitter: @CassaMN.

CRASH team investigations

2017: 28

2016: 27

2015: 20

2014: 22

2013: 23

2012: 19

Source: Fort Collins Police Services \

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Oregon State Police testing high-flying technology

Courtesy Oregon State Police

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As he prepares to launch the mini 4 rotor helicopter in the parking lot of his St. Helens office, Oregon State Police trooper William Bush is very formal, following all the rules.

“We’re not pilots that are out there flying around casually,” he said.

There’s a pre-flight check, ground rules for operation, and information, mainly still pictures, that are is recorded with the help of different software.

One thing you don’t do here is call this piece of technology a “drone.” It’s an sUAS – small Unmanned Aircraft System.

Bush has been authorized to test the sUAS. He’s a member of OSP’s Collision Reconstruction Unit.

“The easiest way to say it is, we’re the ones that document the physical evidence,” he said. “And then there are tiers within the unit that are experts in its analysis.”

Until recently, the team has employed everything from simple technology like a tape measure, to photos and video, and a GPS-based surveying device to record data at crash scenes. It’s a process that can take anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours depending on how serious the crash is. They have to take time recording information because distance calculations matter in their work.

The sUAS flies along a planned out path scanning and capturing the photos which can eventually be rendered into a top down view or 3-D image of the scene. The technology has opened some new doors for investigators.

“We have a readout of everything that’s going on,” said Bush. The FAA and Oregon state statutes mandate the sUAS can only climb to 300 feet. Troopers have a five-day window once an investigation starts to fly the helicopter.

“Obviously people don’t want law enforcement in particular up in the air always looking, that’s not our purpose at all,” he said.

Troopers are working to expedite the investigation process.

The testing is being supported by a small grant, but the technology and associated software are changing too rapidly for OSP to make a full investment right now.

“It’s expanded use, we’re going to be taking those incremental steps, because we don’t want to make an investment that’s irresponsible with taxpayer money,” he said.

But the future is bright for this technology, and Bush believes the possibilities of its use are far-reaching.

“Watching it develop over the course of the next five years, I’m in a fortunate position to be able to be a part of it,” he said.

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2018 Already Busy for Police Drones

From the green hills of Northern Ireland to the sunny shores of Trinidad, police drones are on patrol – saving lives, pursuing bad guys and protecting borders.

Estonia

Last week, the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board demonstrated nine recently purchased ELIX-XL quadcopters from Estonian drone company ELI Airborne Solutions deployed to protect the Baltic nation’s eastern border. The $600,000 drone squadron will also be used for search and rescue.

“The use of drones in the everyday work of the border guard creates even better possibilities for preventing, detecting and stopping border incidents,” Estonian Interior Ministry official Raivo Kuut told the media. “Whether it is an illegal border crossing, a rescue incident on a border body of water or a landscape search — the information gathered with the help of a done gives border guards additional possibilities for planning and executing their activities,” added state police official Helen Neider-Veerme.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland police launched drones last week to search for a 31-year-old missing man. Beatbox performer Michael Cullen was last seen Jan. 9 in the Cave Hill region near Belfast. His disappearance was described as “highly out of character.”

The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Air Support Unit is sweeping the area north of Belfast. The PSNI implemented the drone program in 2013, to protect a G8 summit in Belfast. The drone cop quickly earned its keep, providing the bomb squad with a bird’s-eye view of a small, unexploded explosive that was later defused.

Trinidad

Last week, officers in Trinidad tracked down two suspects who reportedly fired shots before fleeing the scene in a stolen car. Using one of four year-old drones, police were able to gather real-time imagery of the car as it snaked through the streets of El Dorado. Thanks to the eye in the sky, police successfully detained two men, recovering a Lugar semi-automatic pistol and more than 180 grams of marijuana.

“We want to use these drones to ensure that police carry out their duties within the legal framework that governs the [national police],” a police official said.

Isle of Man

The Isle of Man is looking for some unmanned police assistance via drone. Police are seeking a drone facility to “provide a 24-hour call-out to assist with road traffic collisions, area searches and crime scene investigations,” according to news reports.

The program is part of an emerging tech strategy the constabulary announced two years ago and includes plans to add body cameras, license-plate recognition software and autonomous speed detectors.

 

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Police continue search for stolen vehicles

Police continue search for stolen vehicles

Jan. 14, 2018 at 9:06 p.m.
Updated Jan. 15, 2018 at 6 a.m.

Police are still searching for vehicles stolen from Dale's Fun Center.

Police are still searching for vehicles stolen from Dale’s Fun Center.   MCT GRAPHIC for The Victoria Advocate

The Victoria Police Department has not made any arrests related to stolen vehicles from Dale’s Fun Center, as of Sunday afternoon.

Officers are still investigating the crime and searching for vehicles that have not been recovered, said Sgt. Lee Lemmons, with the Victoria Police Department.

About $184,000 in stolen all-terrain vehicles were recovered Saturday morning in DeWitt County.

Between Thursday and Friday, unknown burglars broke into Dale’s Fun Center, 9802 N. Navarro St., and stole eight utility terrain vehicles, seven all-terrain vehicles and two Jet Skis with a combined estimated value of $200,000.

Six vehicles have not been recovered, and 11 were recovered Saturday morning. The recovered vehicles were found in a barn in northern DeWitt County on Dickinson Road, said Sheriff Carl Bowen, with the DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies searched the property with a drone searching for the other vehicles.

“We worked together with them,” Bowen said. “They recovered a significant amount of property and were able to get it back to the people it belonged to – that’s a good day.”

Crown Point to add drone to city inventory

CROWN POINT — City public safety, special events and engineering departments are hovering into a new tech era with the aid of a municipal drone.

The Crown Point Board of Works has approved a purchase, not to exceed $5,000, for a flying drone, equipment and certification for users.

The airborne devices allow high vantage points for surveillance and photos, including at crime scenes.

The city also will seek waivers through the Federal Aviation Administration for flying the drone at night, flying above crowds and flying out of line-of-sight, Crown Point Information Technology Director Adam Graper said.

The unmanned aerial system would be used for public safety, engineering and special events, city officials said.

Crown Point Police General Services Officer Nathan Way, who has experience using drone tech, would be one of the municipal employees certified to use the city’s drone.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Police Chief Pete Land said. “I think it’s something we should do.”

The city is considering a Phantom 4 Pro drone that costs about $1,500, not including accessories.

Graper said other communities are using drones, including Gary and Valparaiso police departments, to assist in a variety of investigations, including locating missing people and taking aerial photos at crime scenes.

Valparaiso police Sgt. Mike Grennes has said drones are especially useful during missing persons investigations, allowing officers wider views of large areas within short windows of time.

Police officials in Valparaiso said state law limits how drones can be used in investigations, including prohibitions on gathering information in private areas without a warrant.

Valparaiso police IT Officer Phil Rochon previously told The Times less than 2 percent of law enforcement agencies nationwide had FAA certification to use drones.

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Drones: You can use them for fun but Phoenix could use them for safety

Drones may have been among the most popular Christmas gifts this year for residents, but cities are also exploring the evolving technology for professional uses.

Phoenix is evaluating how it can use the unmanned aircraft to simplify or speed up its operations. In the future, the city hopes to use drones to assist with mountain rescues, police situations and even marketing.

But recent meeting discussions about how the city can use drones left some council members with questions about how the public can use the popular devices.

Amateur and unlicensed drone users are a growing part of the population. The Federal Aviation Administration predicts that hobbyists’ drones will increase from 1.9 million in 2016 to as many as 4.3 million by 2020.

Vice Mayor Laura Pastor, who said she bought two drones for her children at Christmas, said at a meeting Wednesday she was surprised to learn all of the legal stipulations and ramifications of drones.

“As the mother of two drones, I now need to figure this out,” Pastor said.

The Phoenix Police Department is trying to educate hobbyists on those laws. Here’s a look at what you can and can’t to do as a hobbyist.

John Nunes pilots his drone, January 10, 2018, at Kiwanis
John Nunes pilots his drone, January 10, 2018, at Kiwanis Park, 6111 S All America Way, Tempe. (Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)
How to legally fly drones in Phoenix

Because drones enter airspace — which is controlled by the federal government — but could land on or take off from city land, a hodgepodge of rules applies to drone users.

The FAA requires a license for commercial and professional operators, but not hobbyists. To fly a drone without a license, an operator must follow these rules, according to the FAA:

Fly for recreation only.
Register the drone with the FAA. (It’s $5 every three years.)
Keep the drone within sight while flying.
Follow safety guidelines.
Drone must weigh less than 55 pounds.
Never fly near other aircraft.
Never fly near emergency situations.
SEE ALSO: My Turn: Sick of drones getting in the way? Blame the feds for that

In 2016, Phoenix considered adopting its own drone regulations, but a state law passed the same year limited what cities can regulate regarding drones.

That same law also made any violation of federal drone policies — like operating a drone near an emergency situation — a criminal offense under state law.

Under the 2016 law, cities can only regulate drone use in public parks. Phoenix has limited drones to eight parks:

Coyote Basin Park – 2730 E. Beardsley Road (27th Place and Beardsley Road).
Desert Foothills Park – Lower Field – 1010 Marketplace Southwest (Chandler Boulevard and Desert Foothills Parkway).
Dynamite Park – 4550 E. Dynamite Road (north of Dynamite Road at 44th Street).
El Prado Park – 6428 S. 19th Ave (19th and Southern avenues).
Esteban Park – Eastern Quadrant – 3345 E. Roeser Road (32nd Street and Broadway Road).
Grover’s Basin Park B – 17447 N. 20th St. (Cave Creek Road and Grovers Avenue).
Mountain View II Park – open space south of the ballfield, 9901 N. 7th Ave. (7th and Cinnabar avenues).
Werner’s Field Park – 17831 N. 7th Ave. (7th and Grovers avenues).
John Nunes pilots his drone, January 10, 2018, at Kiwanis
John Nunes pilots his drone, January 10, 2018, at Kiwanis Park, 6111 S All America Way, Tempe. (Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)
Because of the limits on what cities are allowed to require of drone operators, police departments have also struggled with how to enforce the rules that do exist.

“Law enforcement across Arizona is grappling on how they’re going to conduct drone enforcement,” said Sgt. Blake Carlson of the Phoenix Police Department’s Homeland Defense Bureau.

The Phoenix Police Department adopted enforcement policies for drone use in November, which reflect the state and federal laws regarding drones.

Carlson said the department does not plan to arrest people for improper drone use unless it puts people at a safety risk.

If an officer comes across a drone operator who’s using the device in an improper area, the officer will first try to educate. The department has not yet arrested anyone for illegal use, according to department officials.

“We see the major violators as potentially the hobbyists who don’t know all the rules, who haven’t studied up on FAA regulations regarding drone use,” Carlson said.

Here are some of the most frequent drone violations, according to the police department policies:

Flying a drone within five miles of an airport without special permission.
Flying a drone more than 400 feet above the ground.
Flying a drone out of sight of the operator.
Flying a drone over a large crowd of people, including stadiums and sporting events.
Flying a drone at night.
Flying a drone in a way that disrupts other aircraft.
John Nunes pilots his drone, January 10, 2018, at Kiwanis
John Nunes pilots his drone, January 10, 2018, at Kiwanis Park, 6111 S All America Way, Tempe. (Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)
How the city could use drones

City staffers are formulating a policy for professional drone usage by employees that would allow at least 10 city departments to use drones to improve or speed up their duties.

Many cities, including Mesa and Scottsdale, are already using drones for public safety situations, but Phoenix has yet to embrace the new technology.

The drone policy will balance the effectiveness of drones with resident concerns about privacy, according to city staff. A final policy will come before council later this year.

Here is how Phoenix could use the drones in the future:

Locate missing hikers.
Address active shooter situations from a distance.
Provide added security at large-scale events.
Crime-scene photography.
Evaluate water treatment facilities without being onsite.
Capture footage of Phoenix parks trails.
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