By Dave Fidlin
In recent history, the Whitewater Police Department has sought technological assistance from other agencies for several serious incidents – including a case involving a missing juvenile and another seeking a suspect who fled the scene of a crash while brandishing a weapon.
Drone technology has grown increasingly popular in recent years because of its expeditious, high-level overview that can provide additional information when it is most critically needed.
In addition to specific incidents, officers within the Whitewater Police Department have relied on drone footage to augment overall responses to certain non-criminal events, such as Spring Splash, a private event geared toward college-age students that is not initiated by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
At a Common Council meeting May 16, Police Chief Dan Meyer was given the green light to tap into a specially designated fund to purchase a drone for the department’s own use.
Meyer said he believed the purchase will help the department respond to and assess major incidents as they arise within Whitewater.
“We’ve become dependent on outside law enforcement agencies when there have been major incidents or large-scale events,” Meyer said. “With that delayed response time, it can hamper our investigations.”
With the council’s approval in place, Meyer will tap into a specially designated crime prevention fund, which is an account used to hold donated dollars to the agency.
Meyer sought bids from three drone providers and received approval to go with the lowest of the group: a $16,270.30 bid from the firm Adorama. The crime prevention fund currently holds a balance of $34,734.79, meaning its remaining balance will be at $18,464.49.
Adorama’s bid includes a package of related services, including an intelligent flight battery, searchlight and broadcasting system and eight hours of training.
For the full story, please see the print edition of the Whitewater Register.