Prince Frederick, MD – Calvert County Sheriff’s Office UAS Program is nearly one year old, and it already has proven to be a game changer in the field of public safety. From locating missing persons, to mapping crash and crime scenes, to providing watch at special events, there is not much that the Sheriff’s Office pilots haven’t handled in the last year flying over 560 separate missions.
With COVID-19 pandemic nearly paralyzing the county, the state, and the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office pilots are being relied upon now more than ever before. With new types of missions of delivering public service announcements via loud speaker, providing extra light to EMS personnel on scenes, patrolling the parks and providing locations of the county’s homeless population to first responders, Calvert County Sheriff’s Office turned to DJI.
DJI is a major consumer and professional drone manufacturer. DJI aircraft are already being used by the Sheriff’s Office pilots, but with new missions they needed additional capabilities.
On March 25, 2020 DJI announced their US Disaster Relief Program, COVID-19. This program was designed to get the resources in the hands of trained pilots quickly at no cost to the agency. DJI’s public safety platform Mavic 2 Enterprise Zoom aircraft are being distributed to agencies who would benefit from having this technology available. Enterprise aircraft provides emergency responders with loudspeaker and lighting capabilities deployed on an unmanned aircraft. Calvert County Sheriff’s Office submitted an application on March 25, 2020 and received three Mavic 2 Enterprise Zoom from DJI by March 31, 2020. This was truly an unprecedented rapid deployment of additional resources funded by DJI into the hands of first responders.
On April 1, 2020 Calvert County Sheriff’s Office pilots began flying first missions using Enterprise aircraft in support of the Calvert County’s COVID-19 response logging over 2 hours in the air one day after receiving the aircraft from DJI. First flights were focused on some of the county’s most vulnerable residents, the homeless. The aircraft is being used not only to identify where the homeless population resides, but also to map quickest routes to and from the tents, some of which are in the remote areas. From the air, the pilots are able identify Fire and EMS staging locations that offer the best access to the patient in the event of a medical emergency. Pilots will be using Enterprise aircraft to deliver important messages and announcement to those who are sheltering in place and to provide scene lighting to responding EMS crews in the areas where the is no electrical power. “Unmanned aerial systems have become a force multiplier for our department. Three DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise aircraft we received from DJI’s Relief Program will ensure that Sheriff’s Office pilots play a critical role in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic”, said Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans.
In addition to immediate response, DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Zoom aircraft will be used for patrolling the county’s shorelines where traditional access is limited. This will allow the Sheriff’s Office to utilize fewer deputies and cover much more ground observing from the air for anyone who may be in distress or in need of emergency services.