Oklahoma City police locate suspect with drone, a first for the department


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City Police Department has a new eye in the sky for locating crime suspects.

Oklahoma City police recently deployed a drone and successfully located a suspect, a first for the department.

“It seems that law enforcement and public safety is going more toward drone usage,” Sgt. T.J. Howell said in a video on the department’s Facebook page. “And the reason why that is is because they’re economically beneficial, the technology on them is so advanced and it provides safety for both citizens and officers. It provides almost a de-escalation tool for it to arrive on scene before officers show up on scene, and provide them information about what’s going on before they get there.”

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The Oklahoma City Police Department’s drone. Image from OKCPD.

Howell said he was contacted by Hefner-area officers about a pursuit suspect who abandoned a vehicle, fled on foot and was believed to possibly be armed.

The suspect went down into a drainage ditch off of a steep, rocky embankment.

“There was little cover concealment for officers to go down there and try to apprehend the suspect,” Howell said.

The pursuing officers contacted Howell and asked him if he could deploy the drone.

The drone can be equipped with attachments that help in apprehending a suspect, including a loud speaker to deliver commands to a suspect, a spotlight, a strobe function and a built-in thermal imaging system.

Photo goes with story
Howell used the drone’s spotlight to locate the suspect in a canal. Image from OKCPD.

Howell equipped the drone with the spotlight, deployed it and got a clear image of the suspect in a canal.

The suspect complied with commands to surrender, giving up peacefully.

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