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BPD uses drones to make policing safer

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Bloomington Briefing Published November 21, 2022
Updated on November 21, 2022
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Technology is evolving rapidly, and the Bloomington Police Department is using drones to keep the community and officers safe and achieve better outcomes. BPD has two commercial off-the-shelf drones and eight drone pilots. A drone is a small aircraft with a camera that is piloted by a person using a controller on the ground.

Since Bloomington is home to the Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport, the city is considered a Class B air space. That means drones aren’t permitted to fly above 100 feet or 50 feet in some areas. If the situation calls for it, officers communicate with air traffic control to ask permission to fly above that height limit. BPD uses drones to search large spaces for vulnerable adults or missing children.   

“When you’re searching a large space like Hyland Park, which is 2,500 acres, it could take hours by foot. To have the ability to use a drone is important. Every second counts in a situation like that,” Officer Chris Wegner, pictured above, said. “Drones help create situations that are safer for the community, officers and the general public.”

All BPD drone pilots must have their Part 107 FAA license and complete a 40-hour program that is educational and provides opportunities to practice flying.