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OKCPD brings its Drone as First Responder program to the state fair.

Background

To help facilitate and expedite response to calls across a large geographic area, OKCPD launched a Drone as First Responder (DFR) program in partnership with Skydio.

Scaling a Drone as First Responder program is a strategic priority for me. We’ll be able to respond and resolve issues even faster, keeping both our community and our officers safer.

Jason Bussert, Captain of Information Technology Oklahoma City Police Dept

Challenge

Managing a large open-air event.

The Oklahoma State Fair, an event of entertainment and culture that attracts more than 900,000 attendees each year, presents a unique challenge for the OKCPD. Tasked with maintaining order and safety across the vast 435-acre grounds, the department faces the dual responsibility of providing security for the fair while continuing effective policing operations in the rest of the city. The introduction of Drone as First Responder (DFR) technology is not just an upgrade in their operations but a revolution in public safety management. While Captain Bussert of OKCPD has already integrated Skydio drones into daily patrol operations, this year he wanted to take it a step further by including drones in his plans for policing at the fair.

OKC fair grounds

Solution

Dock-based drone as first responder.

To address this challenge, the OKCPD collaborated with Skydio to expand their drone fleet. They strategically placed two Skydio X2s and accompanying drone docking stations around the fairgrounds to deploy a Dock-Based Drone as First Responder (DFR) program. This marked a significant shift in their operational strategy. Docked drones, used to quickly respond to calls for service and provide additional overwatch for the safety of the attendees, introduces the first use of this technology for a multi-day, large-scale security event.

Remote pilots, stationed away from the fairgrounds, could swiftly deploy and control the pre-positioned docked drones from a web browser. This provided immediate aerial overwatch for better tactical decision-making and rapid response capabilities. Docked drones, ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, allow for quick response times, better situational awareness, and an increased ability to de-escalate situations. The drones, after each incident, conveniently returned to their Docks to recharge, standing ready for the next deployment.

Oklahoma City Police officer sitting at a desk looking at several displays and open laptops with various realtime drone footage and maps

Results

Improved public safety with dock-based DFR.

The DFR deployment was a resounding success, with 341 flights and nearly 60 hours of flight time logged during the event. The drones played a pivotal role in resolving 84 incidents, including the deescalation of a shooting incident, locating missing individuals, and apprehending suspects. The use of this technology significantly elevated community safety, minimized risks for officers, and expedited incident response and resolution. Even more remarkable is that stakeholders were able to remotely view and manage these operations afar, demonstrating the flexibility of remote drone operation.

Skydio X10 leaving dock to go observe the Oklahoma state fair at night.

Drones help us quickly get eyes on any situation. Supervisors can view the secure live stream from wherever they are to actively engage and guide the officers to successful resolution.”

Sergeant Laporte Oklahoma City Police Dept

A Look ahead

Pioneering a safer future.

OKCPD's success in using drone technology, both in daily call response throughout the jurisdiction and at the Oklahoma State Fair, is a testament to the potential of innovative policing methods. OKCPD leads the way in policing with drones as the Oklahoma State Fair marks the nation’s first dock-based DFR program used for daily call response and overwatch. As they continue to expand and refine their drone program, the department sets a benchmark for others to follow, leading the way in advanced technology for the greater good of the community and the safety of first responders.

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