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BA Police Drone Already Making An Impact

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BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -

Broken Arrow Police say their new drone is already helping crime scene investigators.

In just two months, the technology is proving to be a major resource that most departments in Green Country don't have.  

It's called an unmanned aerial system or UAS. Officers say the real-time view from above is especially critical when their special operations team is activated.

The UAS was deployed during a standoff on January 25.

"The initial information that we received was that there may be someone inside who could have someone held hostage," officer James Koch recalled. "We didn't know if there was anybody inside that was lying in wait. You know, as soon as they see an officer, they open fire on us."

What started as a welfare check later turned into a murder-suicide investigation after Broken Arrow police found the bodies of an older man and woman along with a small pistol.

By giving officers a bird's eye view, they can't get from the ground.

"The deployment of the UAS assisted us in getting closer without putting officers in danger," Koch explained.

It's also a huge resource when they're looking for a suspect.  

A couple of weeks ago, a woman was shopping when she saw people breaking into her car in a parking lot. Officers say the two suspects were jumping fences, running through a nearby neighborhood.

"With officers not on the ground right there, in that moment, the help or the use of the UAS would give us an aerial view," Koch said.

And it's not just for investigating crimes happening in real-time. Recorded drone footage is helping investigators reconstruct deadly crash scenes.

According to Koch, the UAS is useful at crash scenes for "mapping, showing where the vehicle was, [and] showing skid marks."

"I think we all knew it, but we never actually realized how important it is to have eyes where, in real time, you couldn't before," stated Koch.

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