Cincinnati police drones could save the city money -- and save you time

CINCINNATI -- When the Cincinnati Police Department recently decided to use drones, investigators saw a chance to save money. They'll end up saving you a lot of time, too.

People often think law enforcement uses drones to spy on people. Spc. Rob Uhlenbrock, with the department's Traffic Unit, said that's not what he's up to.

Instead, drones can replace surveying equipment to investigate crashes. With the old equipment, police would spend hours documenting a scene. Drones can get aerial photos in about 15 minutes; then, police create a scale diagram on a computer.

"(That's) road closure time that we would be talking about, so we're able to open the road much quicker," Uhlenbrock said.

For drivers, that's less time sitting in traffic or detouring around a crash scene.

Most recently, Cincinnati police used their drones to survey a crash at Reading Road and Dorchester Avenue. Investigators have used the two drones in five or six traffic cases. 

The department spent about $10,000 on the two units. Officers expect to get much more use from them.

"As the technology improves and more flight time, you can use it for search-and-rescue, following pursuits and things like that," Officer Jerry Lathery said.

Watch the video above to see the drones in action.

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