BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma - The Broken Arrow Police Department is expanding its fleet of drones.

Officers said drones have become crucial since the department launched the program two years ago, and the department's drone operator said he has big plans for drone expansion in the coming years.

Their newest drones allow them to search for suspects and train with K-9s around the clock.

"We're still in our developmental stages and training pilots,” Detective Jackie Smithson said. 

The Broken Arrow Police Department first added drones into their fleet of tools in 2017.      

Most recently, the department added three new drones called the Mavics.

The Broken Arrow Police Department's three new drones like this one all have thermal capabilities, which helps officers with search and rescue missions at night.

"They're very beneficial when we do get to deploy them,” Smithson said. 

Smithson is the lone drone operator for now. He said the plan is to get more pilots trained so the drones can be used in all aspects of police work.

"Our Special Operations Team will eventually have their own, Crime Scene Unit will have their own,” he said. “So it'll be introduced into all different types of environments throughout the police department."

Smithson said the drones come in handy often, whether that's during  K-9 training, or searching for suspects.

"Since Broken Arrow is a smaller agency and we don't have a helicopter or any type of air support, the unmanned aircraft allow us to get that aerial perspective of crime scenes,” he said. 

Smithson said they hope even patrol officers will eventually have access to drones to use in the field.