When it comes to searching a large area in Bloomington for a missing person, the Bloomington Police Department is no longer limited to the ground.
The Police Department has an unmanned aerial vehicle, commonly referred to as a drone, available for searching areas such as the Minnesota River bottoms, and it has a policy that governs how it may be used as a law enforcement tool.
Drone technology is available to the city’s police and fire departments, and state legislation outlines the requirements and limitations by which drones can be used, according to Police Chief Jeff Potts. When it comes to using a drone as an investigative tool, in many cases a search warrant is required, Potts said.
But there are several situations where a drone may be used for public safety functions without a search warrant. A search-and-rescue scenario would be the most common use for a drone, according to Potts. “That’s the type of use that the community can expect from this piece of equipment,” he said.