Police work in Coon Rapids is getting a lift thanks to the department’s latest tool. The city bought a unmanned aircraft system, or what’s more commonly known as a drone, to help with police work.
“Anytime that the UAS is flying, you’re going to see two officers with it,” said Coon Rapids Detective Adam Jacobson. “One we actually call the pilot, and the other is what we call the visual observer."
The DJI Mavic Enterprise ’quad copter’ might look like a toy to some, but with its on-board 4K camera, it can help officers to quickly cover more ground, in a lot less time.
“For example, this morning myself and detective Durette were in the city of St. Francis assisting them looking for a party with warrants,” Jacobson said.
Coon Rapids Police Detectives Adam Jacobson, Dan Durette and Justin Hovorka are among ten trained officers in the city who are FAA certified drone pilots. The idea being that at least one pilot is available during each possible shift, should the need arise.
“So we’re authorized to fly it at 400 feet, which is the highest the FAA allows us to fly,” said Detective Durette.
They also got a waiver from the FAA to fly at night.
Durette pointed out one of the advanced features of the UAS, “We have the ability to see in both visible light as well as infrared light. So we can actually pick up heat signatures.”
The police drone has a logo on its five batteries and carrying case featuring a red cardinal. For this, the police reached out for help from the industrial arts department at Coon Rapids High School by way of their school resource officer, Detective Tyler Brown.
“Mr.(Scott) Storrick of the Coon Rapids High School, he recommended Payton and Jack to me,” said Brown. “They came, they sat down in my office, they said, what are you looking for. I gave them a blank canvas and said see what you can come up with.
The project took Peyton Martinek and Jack Bornes a little over a month to complete according to the police department’s specifications. Together, Peyton and Jack produced the logo with the skills they learned using Photoshop.
“It was a really fun project to do,” said Bornes. “Photoshop was really fun and doing this gave me a chance to use that skill better.”
Peyton Martinek added, “It was a really cool opportunity to work with the police and use our skills to do this project.”
The officers were impressed with how well the logo turned out. And many were surprised that two high school students came up with such a professional looking design. Detective Brown is proud of the boys contribution to the police drone.
“When it flies, you can see the battery pack, you’ll see right on there, ‘Cardinal 1’ you’ll see Jack and Payton’s design.”
Jack and Peyton submitted their final design for the logo to Detective Brown just before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools. They each received thank you certificates from the Coon Rapids Police Department while in quarantine.