Thanks to a donation from Stephen Costello of Costello Utility Consultants (CUC), the Fredericton, New Brunswick police department will soon begin drone operations using an Aeryon Skyranger R60 UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) that had previously been used by CUC for the inspection of power transmission lines and infrastructure.

“This drone is one of the best of its class,” said Costello. “It’s used extensively by police forces in Ontario, the RCMP, and the Ontario Provincial Police.” Equipped with infrared and thermal imaging cameras, the value of the drone is $150,000.

Speaking on behalf of the Fredericton Police Force, Chief Leanne Fitch said the Remotely Piloted Aerial System (RPAS) “can help us understand a situation that we need to respond to and allows us to learn about the factors that contributed or created an incident. Technologies, such as this drone, can also play a valuable role in locating missing persons during a search and rescue operation, or assisting during a disaster.”

The police force has said that video recorded by the RPAS will be protected under existing privacy regulations. Six police officers will be selected and trained in accordance with new TCCA rules and regulations that are set to take effect on June 1 of this year.

According to the Waterloo, Ontario-based RPAS manufacturer Aeryon, one of the capabilities of this model is the ability to read a licence plate from 300 metres away.

“It’s a high-quality digital camera with 30x optical zoom and a 60x digital zoom,” said Costello.

Aeryon manufactures state-of-the-art drones, exporting them to military, public safety and industrial customers around the world. They maintain offices in numerous U.S. cities, and has team members spread throughout the world in London, U.K., Dubai, U.A.E., Antalya, Turkey and Singapore.