In recent months, the Collierville Police Department gained several tools to help officers better serve and protect the town. This includes a drone and the training for personnel to operate the craft.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the purchase of an unmanned aircraft to assist in public safety efforts. CARES Act funds were used for the purchase in October. Additionally, the department inherited a pair of Shelby County Sheriff’s Office vehicles. They then transformed them into mobile command centers.

“We have an opportunity to leverage technology to make the jobs of our officers and firefighters safer,” Police Chief Dale Lane told the board when they approved the drone purchase.

No additional officers were hired for the drone program. Instead, training was added for five police officers and three firefighters who now comprise Collierville’s drone team.

“What we are doing provides more tools for our officers,” Lane said.

The city has the opportunity  use drones to foresee any hazards police might encounter as they respond to incidents, but it can also be used as traffic-monitoring for large events as proved last week.

The team got the first chance to put their drone skills to work on Tuesday, Feb. 2, after receiving the required training and insurance. They flew the drone over Germantown Baptist Church as Collierville, Germantown and the Shelby County Health Department opened the first vaccine site outside of Memphis.

Inside the mobile command center, Lane saw potential problems before they developed, but on that day the traffic plan in place was working well.

This could be used for other large events as well, Lane said. Such as Mass casualty events, missing persons, and disaster response.

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