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As police use of drones expands, more than 70 agencies take part in national drone training conference in Bend

(Update: Adding video, comments from Bend Police, LEDA)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Representatives of dozens of law enforcement agencies are in Bend this week, as Bend Police are hosting a national law enforcement drone training conference put on by the Eugene-based Law Enforcement Drone Association.

It's the third year the conference has been held in Central Oregon.

 "It's much larger," Bend Police Lt. Brian Beekman said Wednesday. "There are many more agencies from across the country, representing many more vendors with various drone related products. So there's much more information to absorb those national level trends."

More than 70 law enforcement agencies signed up for the four-day conference, including officers from Eugene, Redmond and six employees from Bend. 

LEDA spokesman Brandon Karr said, "Drones are highly important for law enforcement entities, for multiple different reasons. It keeps us safer, because it provides us an aerial perspective. These drones have very powerful sensors on them, to allow us to be able to make better decisions before we ever get there."

The training conference is aimed at increasing drone proficiency and providing information on the latest in drone technologies, case laws and best practices.

Karr said, "The best practices standard, we talk about how much training an entity needs to be utilizing or employing for their drone practices. If an agency wants to utilize drones for law enforcement, they would end up going out and training for search or person crash, crime scene reconstruction, disaster response -- any of those type of deployments."

Beekman said, "The partnership between the police department and LEDA is a great example of a very low-cost, high-return relationship, to bring great training to the area."

At the end of the course, all participants  get a certificate from LEDA showing that they met the standards of basic flight proficiency. It's recommended they renew their certificate every year. 

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.


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