Advancing First Responder Drone Programs with AirData UAV

by Trevor Hall • December 12, 2023

AirData UAV recently held a webinar where Chad Tillman from the Huntsville Police Department and Sgt. Nic Fox from the Sacramento Police Department, both experienced users of our software, shared their insights. The discussion centered on how first responders can efficiently manage and scale their drone programs.

Managing your drone program

One of the key topics discussed was the management of drone programs. Chad Tillman emphasized the importance of public transparency and thorough documentation. 

Begin by considering your public, prioritizing safety from the outset. Documenting and managing your program is critical—tracking pilots' activities, fleet management, and record keeping. Use tools like AirData for this purpose. Finally, select aircraft that suit your mission and department needs."

Public transparency

Both panelists highlighted the importance of public transparency when operating a drone program. Sgt. Nic Fox shared how the Sacramento Police Department uses AirData's public portal to share flight data with the community, enhancing transparency and trust.

Funding and program validation

When it comes to funding and program validation, Chad Tillman shared how AirData's reporting functionality has been invaluable. He said, 

We generate bar charts from it where I can tell, all right, this is what we are doing in 2022, this is what we're doing in 2023. And all of this I can take back to the chief and say, chief, this is why I need to buy more aircraft."

Interior flights

Sgt. Nic Fox shared about their innovative micro drone program, 

 Utilizing our micro drone program has drastically reduced our callouts, leading to significant cost savings. More importantly, it has improved officer safety by providing us with critical intelligence, reducing the need for direct confrontations. It's a game-changer in terms of tactical decision-making and public safety."

Nic is able to track all of their micro drone activity through AirData.

Live streaming

Both panelists found immense value in AirData's live streaming functionality. They highlighted how it has become an integral part of their operations, providing real-time intelligence to command centers and decision-makers. The live streaming feature has also been instrumental in enhancing officer safety, reducing costs, and increasing efficiency in their respective departments.

The live streaming feature's flexibility has spurred innovation, allowing its use in diverse scenarios. These include capturing micro drone (FPV) footage, streaming a cellphone camera feed while the phone is strapped to a reach pole, and integrating it into a remote-controlled car's video system for safer, more effective operations.

Click here to learn more about AirData's live streaming.

Parting advice

In their parting advice, both panelists emphasized the importance of collaboration and learning from others. Sgt. Nic Fox advised,

Utilize the resources around you. Connect with other agencies. Locally here, we have a regional working group. We get together quarterly, talk to each other, make sure everyone's on the same page." 

Chad Tillman emphasized the importance of careful planning before launching a drone program. He advised, 

Don't jump into it too fast. Be careful, plan it out. Have a good idea of what your missions are going to be." 

In conclusion, the webinar provided valuable insights into the practical application of AirData UAV's software in managing and scaling drone programs for first responders. The real-life examples shared by the panelists underscored the significant role that our software plays in enhancing public transparency, securing funding, and improving operational efficiency.

Curious how AirData can help your first responder program? Send us a note!

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