Pre-Flight Checklist to a UAS Program: It Is Not about the Drones

Pre-Flight Checklist to a UAS Program: It Is Not about the Drones
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2022-03-03
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Pre-Flight Checklist
Unit 2Transcript: Pre-Flight Checklist to a UAS Program
Unit 3Workbook: Pre-Flight Checklist to a UAS Program
Unit 4Recording: Pre-Flight Checklist to a UAS Program

The benefits of technology for the law enforcement profession have been undeniable In their mission to save lives and maintain public safety. However, technology likewise poses some concerns for the community. Drones in particular have been subject to public scrutiny for its tendency to overstep over the privacy of the community members.

Captain Don Redmond from the Chula Vista Police Department leads this webinar to present how their agency implemented its successful drone program. Captain Redmond has a prolific law enforcement career since 1996 and is currently overseeing the support operations of Chula Vista’s 911 Police Communications Center and their Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Operations, among others.

Topics he discussed in this course include:

  • An overview of Chula Vista, the Chula Vista Police Department, and the qualities of their jurisdiction which make drone operations possible.
  • The two key certifications through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provided for individuals or organizations that intend to fly drones, and their pros and cons.
  • The most common ways drones are flown and utilized by law enforcement and first responders.
    • Traditional/tactical where certified officers deploy the drones as they see fit for the incidents they encounter in the field.
    • Mapping and diagramming crime and traffic collision scenes to speed up the investigative process allowing locations to be opened up in a matter of minutes instead of hours.
    • Indoor drone flying to enter buildings and other structures for various situations.
    • Tethered drones used for large-scale events to have a 360-degree view of the venue.
    • Payload drones for areas where getting an actual first responder takes long and launching a drone allows providing immediate assistance on the scene.
    • Drone as first responder where the drone is deployed on the scene before any responding personnel can.
  • The value in determining how drones will be used within a jurisdiction and developing policies and protocols early on or even before buying the equipment.
  • Chula Vista’s Drone as First Responder (DFR) Program.
    • The incident that served as a precursor and highlighted the value of having eyes on the location to ensure the safety of the responding officers, the subject, and the civilians.
    • Designing the DFR program as a proactive solution and de-escalation tool for first responders.
    • The presidential directive and start-up initiatives that shaped the DFR policies and protocols.
    • A glimpse into the DFR operations, from dispatch and teleoperation, to the actual first responders arriving on the scene.
    • The distance in which the drones can fly and operate from the drone launch site.
    • Chula Vista Police Department’s current drone operation details, their operation times, launch sites, coverage, and manpower – teleoperators, visual observers, and Part 107 certified officers.
  • Drone footages demonstrate how DFR is being used to advance public safety and respond to emergencies within Chula Vista.
  • Facts and figures that facilitate community buy-in and pointers on how to gain trust and conduct outreach within the community.
  • Legal and ethical landmines as well as privacy concerns that agencies may face when implementing a UAS program and the details to look into and provide the community with to overcome these.
  • Resources that provide best practices and guidance on policies when implementing a drone program.

Questions from the audience are about:

  • Whether code enforcement falls under the part 91 requirement.
  • The location of the drone remote cockpit vis-à-vis the launch location.
  • Using of drones for crash investigations in traffic incident management.
  • Drone-related case law in effect.
  • Getting other law enforcement agencies to observe Chula Vista operations.
  • Differentiating Part 107 from Part 91 and whether both are needed to implement a UAS program.
  • After-flight standard operating procedures.
  • Color recognition capability in drones.
  • Additional training, procedures, or policies required for night operations.
  • Providing refresher courses and continuing education for drone pilots.



Other Webinars with this Presenter:

Or click here to view and register for other upcoming Law Enforcement webinars on the JCH Platform.


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Everything was extremely helpful on so many different topics I’ve had questions on for 2 years. I hope to use this information to help my PD in my city and hometown. thank you again.” — Adam
  • “Yes! – the Drone Control Center – Great Idea!! – We are an agency that is mountainous & this is a challenge. We are currently developing a training program and are adapting a modified NIST course. Thanks for offering this. Ideas – maybe a visual tour of such Drone Control Centers to get some brainstorming for our Agency.” — Frank
  • “Very informative on how to start a UAS program and things to avoid/or know to get your program up and running faster. Good training overall.” — Gilberto
  • “Setting up your program and being ready to justify it and answer questions and concerns before your program is actually off the ground. (no pun intended).” — Matt
  • “Different applications for drones and associated challenges. Also showcasing drone programs to the public is a good idea to communicate how you are using the technology to help protect and serve those in your jurisdiction. Thank you for a very informative presentation!” — Michael
  • “Being new to our existing program this was excellent information for me to know in order to become more involved in not only the logistics of the program but also the requirements to work as a UAS operator.” — Nick
  • “Chula Vista is the gold standard in Drone Operations. The entire webinar was excellent. More info on drone types, programs, mapping.” — Patrick


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