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C.O. law enforcement getting lesson in drone safety at national conference in Bend

(Update: adding information and video)

Day two of the Law Enforcement Drone Association's national conference kicks off in Bend

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- More than 40 law enforcement agencies are getting first-hand experience in drone safety this week at a national conference being held in Bend.

The Law Enforcement Drone Association is holding its second annual, sold-out national conference this week at the Christian Life Center. Law enforcement officers are being taught the "best practices and standardization of the use of drones in public safety," the organization said.

Brandon Karr, a police officer in Texas and LEDA member, told NewsChannel 21 the organization wants to expose law agencies to the latest drone technologies, but the ultimate goal is to turn LEDA's training courses into a standardized practice for all law enforcement agencies.

“We are trying to develop this into the premier standard that every agency is going to utilize for basic pilot proficiency,” Karr said.

At the Bend Police Department, drones have been used since 2016. The department has nine certified pilots, according to Sgt. Tom Pine, who is also a LEDA board member.

“We use them for missing persons and search rescue missions,” Pine said. “We are able to choose the right drone for the right scenario.”

While drones become more and more ubiquitous across law enforcement agencies, Karr said they make for a safer environment, not only for police but for communities as well.

“Drones provide a perspective that normally we wouldn’t have," Karr said. "That is a massive benefit to the community ... to implement technologies to provide a safer community.”

Law enforcement are being given classroom instruction, then will learn about outdoor flying scenarios. Other items on the agenda include risk mitigation and liability, FAA updates and nighttime flight procedures. The conference will continue for two more days.

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.


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