Nebraska State Patrol finds new jobs for drones

What started as a way to map accident scenes has turned into so much more in only six months.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The Nebraska State Patrol drone fleet isn’t too old, only about six months. In that time, they’ve been able to find more and more uses for their 18 drones.

For instance, in November, they were surveying a wildfire near Gering. That’s a job they could handle both day and night, thanks to the thermal imaging their drone was equipped with. It’s just part of the continuing evolution of the program.

NSP Special Operations Division Captain Jason Scott oversees many programs, including the drones. He says things have gone very well so far: “We’ve had tremendous success, saving tons of money to the state and our own agency, and clearing accidents quickly and efficiently.”

So they moved on to using the drones in wildfires, searches for missing people, and more.

“Any way we can leverage that technology”, says Scott, “to keep our troopers safe, keep the public safe, and be efficient about what we’re doing.”

Now NSP has 18 drones across the state, and they’re working on getting nearly twice that number of people trained to pilot them. That coverage boosts their airpower quite a bit and makes some situations much easier to handle.

Captain Scott explains, “If it’s in the middle somewhere, between North Platte and Lincoln, then we have the question of the efficiency of launching an aircraft to get to that middle ground versus taking an accident reconstruction person who has one in the trunk of their car.”

So, what’s next? “It’s a capability that we really don’t want to limit”, says Scott. “We want to keep our options open”.

At the rate they’ve been discovering new jobs, they should continue to keep those options open for quite some time.

Categories: Nebraska News, News