Wisconsin Police Say They Used Drone to Save Man From Alleged Self Harm

Tracking anybody in a heavily wooded area can be difficult. Drones can provide some guidance as Wisconsin police found out last month.

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According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the Madison Police Department successfully utilized an unmanned aerial vehicle to locate a man in a densely forested area in late May who they said allegedly wanted to harm himself. 

“Police activated the unmanned aircraft system [drone], since that seemed to be the best alternative to get a better view of the area and a potentially hiding subject,” explained police officer Howard Payne.

Drones have increasingly become a tool for not only law enforcement but for search and rescue services and firefighters. Besides their general affordability and fairly user-friendly learning process, drones provide these groups with the priceless advantage of having a bird’s-eye view before even approaching dangerous situations, and sending people into harm’s way. In this particular case, however, the UAV was used to locate someone potentially putting himself in danger.

“Missing persons cases, pursuing fleeing suspects and aerial overviews of crime scenes are just a few of the many tasks the UAS program can afford police,” said Payne. “It’s another tool that helps keep the community safe.”

We’ve seen police departments across the country adopt this modern aerial tool frequently in the past two years, most notably with the LAPD garnering a one-year implementation period from a civilian oversight panel. Authorities in Austin, Texas deployed a UAV to ensure safety of a potentially risky area in the wake of a bombing suspect, and the Illinois Senate recently considered expanding drone use for public safety measures.

While some remain skeptical about drones being the answer to life’s long list of problems, in this particular case, they definitely were, as they possibly helped save a 36-year-old man’s life.