Corp Comm Connects

York Regional Police second municipal force in Ontario to operate aerial drone
July 10, 2015
By Jay Gutterridge

The use of an unmanned aerial vehicle will cut road closure durations in half when investigating serious or fatal collisions, York Regional Police says.

YRP is the second municipal police force in the province to add a drone - a flying apparatus with cameras attached - to its toolbox. Currently, Halton Regional Police, Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are using drone technology.

YRP will primarily use the drone when investigating serious or fatal vehicle collisions, searching for missing persons, security sweeps of outdoor venues and to assess a train derailment or hazardous waste incident before sending responders in, according to YRP spokesperson Andy Pattenden.

“Investigating one fatal collision can close a road for eight to 10 hours,” he said, explaining it takes a long time to manually map out an accident scene.

“This will cut that time in half.”

At a demonstration just off Don Hillock Drive in Aurora, the drone, which is slightly larger than a basketball, launched, took pictures and landed with ease and made no more noise than a slight buzzing.

Two licensed officers, one observing the drone and the other using a tablet and stylus pen to control the flight path, operated the apparatus that’s worth $125,000, including the cameras.

It weighs 2.4 kilograms, is capable of vertical take offs and landings and can capture high-resolution images during the day or night.

“The UAV is a welcome addition to our investigative toolbox,” police Chief Eric Jolliffe said.