WA Police Force’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Expansion Project has reached the Goldfields – Esperance District, with four local police officers being trained to become police drone Pilots.
The 12-month training program commenced in July 2020 with several police officers from specialist units, such as Major Crash Investigation Section, being trained in the first phase of the training delivery program.
The Goldfields – Esperance District officers are the fifth group of regional officers to take part in the training, with officers from Great Southern, South West, Wheatbelt and Mid West – Gascoyne districts trained in recent months. The officers who have been selected to undergo the training are required to complete the same theory and practical training that any other RPAS Pilot needs to complete under CASA requirements.
Upon completion of the training the Goldfields-Esperance District will be allocated two RPAS assets, or drones, to deploy locally when they are required. The arrival of the new drones will significantly increase local air support capability and the capacity to provide aerial support to local police across the district in a wide range of situations, including the emergency response to situations such as land search and marine search operations.
The local police drones will not replace traditional aircraft deployments, with Police Air Wing and other aircraft still available for emergency needs. The new drones will provide additional options available for immediate deployment and will complement other aircraft deployments.
Superintendent Brad Jackson from the Goldfields – Esperance District Office said the district’s southern coastline and vast areas of remote inland terrain highlight why drone technology is so important for local officers.
“Our community knows we have a stunning, but at times dangerous coastline, particularly around the rocky shorelines near Esperance, and when considered alongside the numerous land searches we conduct for missing travellers and prospectors in our remote outback it is clear that drone technology will greatly assist our officers.
“I expect our drones will complement the use of other aircraft very well, and make a significant contribution to our operations and our efforts to keep our community and visitors to our region safe.”
Police in the Pilbara and Kimberley districts are next to receive their RPAS Pilot training and drones, which will represent the conclusion of a 12-month training program – which by the end will have delivered 60 trained RPAS Pilots and 40 drones across the state, including 28 RPAS Pilots trained and 14 drones deployed in regional WA.
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