Odessa Police Department Announces Largest DFR Program in the US

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Odessa Police Department

We are very excited to announce the official launch of the Odessa Police Department and Odessa Fire Department’s Drone as a First Responder (DFR) Program. They will be deploying using a five drone DFR system. Using our LTE drone, the Knighthawk, OPD and OFD are able to cover their entire city with multiple drones overlapping in coverage areas. Knighthawk’s LTE enabled us to obtain a beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) waiver on behalf of OPD in class C, E, and G airspace. Through our Watchtower autonomous DFR controls, streaming, and data management software, they are able to pilot all five drones from a computer in their HQ streaming the live feed to first responders who may be assisted by the situational awareness before they arrive on scene.

The main goal of the program is, as always, to assist the first responders of Odessa. Many of the departments Paladin has spoken to all share the same problem which is that they do not have enough officers. The focus of this trial is on collecting and analyzing data on the cost savings of a DFR program as well as the logistical implications of being able to clear lower priority calls using a UAS which frees up officers to be ready for higher priority ones. The following is the OPD press release:

“New, Innovative Way to Fight Crime

The Odessa Police Department has teamed up with Paladin Drones, a company leading the way in drone technology. This new partnership will be a year-long pilot program and will be the largest public safety Drone as a First Responder (DFR) program in the United States.

OPD and Paladin undertook the difficult process of receiving authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The department has a goal of setting the standard for technology in law enforcement. We constantly search for innovative ways to fight crime in our community and efficiently utilize our resources. Our partnership with Paladin Drones checks every box on our mission to ensure we maintain a Safe, Peaceful, and Productive community.

The drones will be piloted by trained Odessa Police and Odessa Fire Rescue personnel to gather key information prior to first responders arrival. Our agency has seen time and time again, that time matters in a response to an emergency incident. Paladins Knighthawk Drones will arrive on scene prior to first responders and stream video directly to those personnel who need it the most. Ultimately this new technology, will ensure that both the Odessa Police Department and Odessa Fire Rescue are efficiently and effectively responding to our community’s needs.

We are extremely excited that Odessa Fire Rescue Chief John Alvarez and his department has partnered with our agency to also be involved in this unique project. The drones will allow firefighters to identify hotspots on fires, and gather information for incident prior to arriving on scene. This allows OFR Leaders to best allocate resources and gain actionable insight in order to be as efficient as possible in their response.

With everything we do, we always try to weigh the needs of public safety with the privacy of our citizens. Rest assured we have put into place policies, procedures, and best practices in compliance with State and Federal laws to safeguard our citizens rights.

Have questions you want answered about this? Drop those questions in the comments and we’ll post a video answering them in the near future.

If you’re looking for a new career opportunity, we’re doing some extremely exciting things at OPD. You don’t have to be an Officer to serve our community either. To check out our open positions and see how you can take part in exciting initiatives like our Drone Unit, visit our website www.odessapd.com/jobs.”

If your department could benefit from a tool that can both increase situational awareness as well as optimize the time spent by boots on the ground, please contact us at team@paladindrones.io. We’ll get your program set up from the tech all the way through FAA waivers and training on the system.

If your department could benefit from a tool that can both increase situational awareness as well as optimize the time spent by boots on the ground, please contact us at team@paladindrones.io. We’ll get your program set up from the tech all the way through FAA waivers and training on the system.

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