Chula Vista Police passed the 10,000 emergency response mission mark.
The Chula Vista Police Department is the only law enforcement agency in the country authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly drones in emergency response.
Drones have been the first to appear in more than 5,300 emergency incidents in the city and have contributed to 1,140 arrests, said Lt. Miriam Foxx.
The Drone as First Responder (DFR) program has responded to many calls for service, such as finding missing children, riot calls, fires, traffic, vehicular accidents, domestic violence, and weapons emergencies, according to Foxx.
According to the lieutenant, “the program provides officers with more time to assess dangerous situations. and enables decision-making, which helps reduce the need to use force.”
Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy said the DFR program helps save lives and keep the community safe.
“As Chief of Police, my main concerns are the safety of the public and the safety of my officers. Using drones has made an incredible difference in how we respond to emergencies. It allows officers to see what is happening at a scene, including the risk that may exist,” she said.
In 2018, the FAA chose the city of Chula Vista as the site for a pilot drone project to help with emergency response.
In 2020, the FAA authorized Chula Vista Police to fly two drones that arrive and remain at incident scenes and provide real-time information to first responders.
According to Kennedy, “drones are crucial for the future of public security and are a critical de-escalation tool” of potential conflicts.
She said the drone program “allows us to ensure a safe community environment, and the rights and expectations of our citizens”.