(CNS): The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service tested new equipment last week during a simulation of a multi-agency rescue operation at the West Bay Public Beach. The RCIPS has been using small unmanned surveillance aircraft (SUSA) for almost a year but they have now purchased a larger capability model. Police said the new commercial standard drone is capable of carrying multiple camera payloads depending on the need, and last week’s training exercise gave operators a chance to gain more experience using the drone.
In its recent annual report the Civil Aviation Authority noted the significant increase in the use of drones and the challenges that poses to air traffic, but the RCIPS said its equipment is regulated under the authority through the Air Operations Unit.
The drone model that the RCIPS has been using for the past year to secure evidence at crime scenes and remote searches, as well as to produce high level professional imagery, has been the DJI Mavic Pro. As a result of these trials and assessments, they have purchased a larger capability DJI Matrice 210 model.
The RCIPS has trained officers outside of the Air Operations Unit to a level of professional operator competence, and a police spokesperson said the public could expect to see the drones in operation more often.
During last week’s test the drone was part of a coordinated exercise that involved police, the Cayman Islands Fire Service and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in a dummy rescue of a swimmer in trouble using the CIFS boat and the police helicopter to coordinate the rescue.
Home Affairs Minister Tara Rivers said the exercise was to test out the new drone and the ability of the fire service to support the police and the marine unit in an emergency. She explained that the goal was to enter into a formal MOU between the agencies to improve the local capabilities for inshore rescue.
In the past the RCIPS Joint Marine Unit had sole responsibility for rescue missions at sea, but last year the fire service purchased a boat and wave-runners to enable them to assist.
“As a result of a review that happened in 2016 when we looked at the search and rescue capabilities as a whole, one of the recommendations was to see how the fire service could provide assistance in appropriate circumstances,” Rivers said. She explained that the rescue exercise would help with ironing out any final glitches in the aim to boost rescue capabilities.
Category: Local News