HOLLISTER, Calif. (KION) UPDATE 7/3/21 10:56 a.m. In addition to using the drone to find illegal fireworks, Hollister PD also has plans to use it for other purposes, such as locating suspects who might be on the run.
Sergeant Bo Leland says the drone comes with a multitude of features.
"It comes equipped with anti-collision lights, forward-looking infrared, spotlights, and its got a speaker where it can broadcast audio images over the drone from where ever it may be flying," said Leland.
The drone can also go up to 30 miles per hour. It is intended to go to areas where they receive the most complaints and use infrared technology to see the individuals who are firing the illegal fireworks. The Police Chief of the Hollister Police Department, Carlos Reynoso, tells me that the purpose of the drone is to capture evidence.
"We get there after the call and we have to see the violation. With the drone, it gives us a tool that will allow us to see the violation and issue citations to the property owner if necessary," said Reynoso.
The plan is to use the drone in instances of finding a missing person, trying to capture suspects fleeing from a vehicle pursuit, or even using it to identify hotspots in wildfires. When asked if the public should be alarmed at the thought of this being a potential invasion of privacy, they say that's not the purpose.
"We are not planning on using the aerial technology that we have for general patrol purposes. We're planning on using it in specific instances where we think it could be helpful," said Leland.
PREVIOUS STORY: The Hollister Police Department is taking no chances when it comes to illegal fireworks. Not only are they beefing up patrols on the streets this Independence Day weekend, but they are also keeping an eye out from up above, as they debut their new UAV Drone Program.
According to the department, personnel has been working on this for several months, trying to obtain a drone suitable for public safety purposes and forming a Drone Unit.
This weekend, the department says they will be deploying a DJI Mavic Enterprise Dual drone. It's equipped with infrared technology and a high-definition camera to help in public safety missions.
Police say their drone operators are fully certified by Federal Aviation Administration and all drone flights will be logged and recorded. However, police add that only recordings related to criminal activity will be saved in their evidence system. All other flights that are recorded and not needed for evidence will be immediately deleted.