KCK police plan to use new drone in future investigations

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Kansas City, Kan. police are taking to the skies with a new drone aircraft they say will make future investigations faster, easier and more efficient.

The KCK Police Department spent nearly $14,000 on a drone and adjoining camera. The equipment was paid for with seized drug money from the “Special Law Enforcement Trust Fund.”

It`s technology the Police Chief Terry Zeigler thinks will be invaluable during future police investigations.

“We`re talking about saving lives, that`s what this is all about,” Chief Zeigler said.

His department plans to use the new gadget to look for missing people, hunt down suspects who go into hiding, and help execute dangerous search warrants.

“When you talk about officer safety,” he said, “and reducing the chances of an officer getting shot when you`re looking for an armed suspect, if you talk about efficiency and being able to look for a missing child or somebody who has dementia or Alzheimer’s quickly, this is invaluable to us.”

Chief Zeigler believes with heat sensor technology via a Flir camera, a GPS tracking system and distance control, the drone can give police a real advantage –as long as they follow the rules.

“We are going through the FAA process to make sure that we`re meeting all their requirements and their guidelines,” he said.

So what about community privacy concerns?

“As a police department, we do not want to violate any of our citizens’ constitutional rights,” Chief Zeigler said.

“That`s not why we bought this. This is not for us to take it and say, ‘Hey! Let’s go have fun and fly through a neighborhood today!’ There will be a reason that we deploy it.”

Instead, he said police are focused on using this drone for a specific purpose.

“Our hope is that this is going to enable us to keep the community safer, our officers safer and just save lives,” he said. “I mean, that`s really the bottom line.”

The police department hopes to have their full FAA certification complete by the end of the summer. The Kansas City, Mo., police department also recently invested in a drone.