Albert Rukwaro
Special to The Gardner News
Gardner police department will soon add an aerial drone to its crime busting capabilities after the city council approved a request by James Pruetting, GPD chief, during a council meeting April 15.
Pruetting told the council that the drone-Mavic 2 Enterprise- will cost the city $3,979. He said the funds will be drawn from the Special Law Enforcement Trust Fund. He said the fund has a balance of $13,876.09.
Pruetting said the drone would greatly enhance Gardner Police Department’s law enforcement and public safety response capabilities.
He said the drone has rapid deployment of sensors for intelligence and over-watch capabilities as well as a continuous, on-station capabilities in hostage and active shooter incidents.
The drone documents traffic for crime scenes for later reconstruction and could be useful for rapid victim or lost person search with its live high-resolution video streams.
He said the drone comes equipped with an infrared camera which shows heat that is produced by people, animals or other items that may have a heat signature.
“This allows the officers to see in the dark. Officers are able to detect people or animals hiding in vegetation or to see an item recently dropped, such as a weapon,” he said.
The drone is manufactured by DJI, an Arkansas corporation.
The council also authorized city staff to enter into an agreement with Incident Response Technologies Inc for a suite of web-based incident management software.
The software will cost the city $14,527.50 for three years.
Pruetting said the purchase of the software, Rhodium Incident Management Suite, is part of an ongoing process to update the Local Emergency Operations Plan in compliance with federal, state and county guidelines.
“As part of the development and planned implementation of the LEOP and the pending opening of the Justice Center Emergency Operations Center, there’s need to purchase incident management software that can be used across different first responder agencies in order to coordinate resources and prepare advance plans for various incidents that may occur,” he said.
In 2017 the purchase of a $9,400 drone utilizing funds in a special drug enforcement account was approved by the city council; however, no drone was purchased in part due to concerns over liability insurance.
In 2014, Gardner’s Law Enforcement Trust Fund was $8,187; it was $16,872 in 2015; and the current balance is $12,383.13.
The trust fund is used to document deposits and expenditures for properties forfeited to the Gardner Police Department as required by state statute. Expenditures may be made only for authorized purposes and are not to be used for normal operating expenses.
According to the GPD interactive crime map, there were 12 offenses between March 17 and April 17, 2019. The crime map may be viewed at https://ims.jocogov.org/CrimeMaps/mapsframegardnerfull.aspx.