Drones have officially arrived or it would be more appropriate to say taken off in a big way in the United States with reportedly 910 state and local police departments, fire departments, and emergency services agencies utilizing UAVs in their routine operations. Now the Cayman Islands are poised to catch up.
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) has been aerially collecting crime scene evidence and conducting remote searches with a DJI Mavic Pro for almost a year now. The DJI Mavic Pro was used to secure evidence and to produce high level imagery, at crime scenes and remote searches in this past year.
Last week the RCIPS tested new equipment during a coordinated simulation exercise of a rescue operation involving multi-agencies at the West Bay Public Beach. The simulation exercise involved 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.
The police stated that this exercise gave them the opportunity to challenge their drone pilots and test the new Matrice 210, which is conveniently capable of carrying two cameras and that last week’s training exercise gave operators a chance to gain more experience of using the drone. The success of these trials has led to the RCIPS to add the larger capability DJI Matrice 210 to its fleet.
In its recent annual report however, the Civil Aviation Authority highlighted the significant challenges to air traffic due to increased drone use but the RCIPS said its equipment is regulated under the authority through the Air Operations Unit. The police said they had successfully trained four Air Operations Unit officers to become professional pilots.
Home Affairs Minister Tara Rivers said the exercise was aimed at testing the new drone and the combined ability of the fire service to support the police and the marine unit for any emergency. The goal she said was to enter into a formal MOU between the agencies to improve the local capabilities for inshore rescue.
“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.
This is only the beginning for the Caymans and the local public offices will definitely continue to bolster their aerial equipment.