The Glendale Police Department Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS - Drone Unit) was created in March 2018 to help the department with its primary function, the preservation of life and property. The UAS Unit assists in achieving this goal by utilizing drones in specialized cases for investigations, criminal apprehension, locating missing/lost subjects, crime scene/fire documentation, photography of Glendale events and Police Officer/Citizen protection. The Glendale Police UAS Unit is proud to provide support to police, fire, and municipal calls for service in a safe, responsible, and transparent manner. The Unit also ensures addressing concerns of public trust, civil liberties, and the public’s right to privacy during the operation of UAS systems. The UAS unit does not perform general patrol operations or general surveillance as part of its function.
The UAS Unit was established and is fully funded by donations and public safety grants. The Glendale Police Department currently has (3) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified pilots who operate within FAA Regulations and Policy. Pilots fly within FAA regulations and are trained to understand controlled airspace, aviation weather, airport operations, Air-to-Air / Air to Ground Communications and Incident Command procedures. In addition to the certified pilots, all Glendale Police Officers are trained as Visual Observers (VOs) to assist in maintaining safety during flight.
The Unit has been utilized in cases involving missing persons, fleeing subjects, crimes in progress, accident/outdoor crime scene documentation, open area searches and crowd monitoring for large events. The UAS Unit has conducted numerous classroom and flight trainings including cold weather operations, K9/Drone deployment, water rescue, Incident Awareness and Assessment (IAA), Night flight operations, Air/Ground Communications, Search and Rescue, Fire Scene management, flooding/natural disaster assessment, tactical operations, Payload Release Systems (dropping of floatation devices/medical kits), operating from a moving vehicle as well as flying in conjunction with manned aircraft including National Guard helicopters and State Patrol fixed-wing aircraft. The Unit trains regularly with other agencies including the Wisconsin Air Coordination Group (ACG), the Wisconsin Drone Network, WI State Patrol, WI Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and WI State Capitol Police among others.
July 4, 2021
On July 4, 2021 at 10pm the North Shore Fire Department and several other agencies responded to two subjects on paddleboards lost in Lake Michigan. The Glendale Police Department Drone Unit was requested and was able to locate the subjects and provide exact coordinates that allowed emergency responders to rescue the two subjects. The North Shore Fire Department’s press release indicated that “the technology available via the City of Glendale Police Department’s drone was pivotal in being able to quickly identify the exact location and provide a continuous visual in complete darkness even though the subjects were more than a quarter-mile offshore”.
We are proud that the capabilities of our drone equipment, along with the training and abilities of our Drone Unit operators, were instrumental in the safe rescue of these individuals. Job well done!