OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Police Department has added drones to their arsenal to tackle crime.

Led by the effort of Lt. Mark Pancoast, five FAA-certified pilots have access to three drones, according to 6 ABC.

The program began in March, reported OCNJ Daily, and that means this is the first summer season with the drones in action.

Pancoast told OCNJ Daily uses can range from missing child cases, missing person cases, fraud cases, hostage situations and more. “When we fly a drone, we can see 360 degrees, where the officers on the ground could only see what is in front of them. Now, they can see a wide range,” he said.

The department wants to be transparent with their technology to eliminate any shock from beachgoers or locals. “Showing the back scenes of it, there’s nothing hidden or nefarious that we’re doing with these drones. They’re there for public safety,” Pancoast told 6ABC.

Looking ahead to the fall, Pancoast would like all officers with OCPD to be FAA-certified pilots, according to OCNJ Daily.

From coast to coast

Forbes highlighted ten ways drones can complement community policing, which can be used for boat and plane accidents, crime investigations, traffic management and more. In a case of chasing a suspect, there was mention of a drone being quieter than a helicopter, which can make it harder for suspects to detect.

In an NBC News article, there’s mention of a Santa Monica beach town police department often using a drone before any officer goes to the scene. Using its various camera capabilities, it says a lot of guess work can be eliminated prior to an officer’s arrival.

For those wary of the resource, that department said they don’t survey areas scouting out crime. Rather, the approach is to have “drones as a first responder.”

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