Const. Robert Hryhorczuk shows the Abbotsford Police Department’s new drone to a civilian members of the department’s IT section after buzzing around Mill Lake Park for a crowd of onlookers this week. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

VIDEO: Abbotsford police’s new drone a buzz for crowd

The $32,000 machine has been used for car crashes and a search and rescue since APD bought the drone

A drone has been added to the Abbotsford Police Department’s tool belt, and it’s being touted as a potential life saver in car crashes and search and rescue operations.

The drone was first bought by the department early this spring, and currently only one officer, Const. Robert Hryhorczuk, is trained to pilot the gadget. However, he expects to train up to eight more pilots.

“We have two cameras on it. One is a 4K camera, so we can take still images or video. It’s extremely clear. The other camera is called an FLIR – forward-looking infrared –and that does heat signatures, so we can use that for search and rescue,” Hryhorczuk said.

‘“With the cameras, because the cameras are quite expensive, altogether it’s about $32,000. Part of that was making it a compliant machine with Transport Canada.”

Transport Canada unveiled new rules surrounding drones – where they can fly, how high they can fly and much more – though law enforcement does have some exceptions to certain rules.

Hryhorczuk said there has been a lot to study up on to stay in compliance. That includes a maximum altitude of about 90 metres, and it must be flown 5.6 kilometres away from any airport.

That covers much of Abbotsford, Hryhorczuk said, which means he regularly needs to contact the airport to put the drone to use, mostly for things like search and rescues and vehicle crashes.

“The tools in my tool belt have grown year by year as we try to understand how to better serve the community,” Police Chief Bob Rich told onlookers in Mill Lake Park at an event to show off the new gadget.

“This tool is exactly that. We are adding another tool to the tool belt for the Abbotsford Police Department.”

Hryhorczuk said the drone has already been taken out several times since he finished training on piloting, and he said it is a major help to analysts investigating crashes.

“Previous to having a drone, they would take a satellite image of an area, but of course this could be dated, whereas now they get a real-time photo of the actual collision scene with the vehicles still in it before they’re removed,” Hryhorczuk said.

“There’s already been some instances in Canada at the other police forces and in the U.K., probably in the United States as well, where they’ve had collision scenes that they’ve sent the drone up with the FLIR and been able to locate a victim not too far away with the video where they might not have seen otherwise and saved a life.”

Report a typo or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Abbotsford mayoral candidate calls for DeLair baseball expansion

Eric Nyvall says Abbotsford needs baseball complex; Braun says city should stick with long-term plan

Abbotsford police ride the bus to target distracted drivers

Project Bus Ride also watches for other driving infractions

Preet Rai running for 4th term on Abbotsford school board

Rai notes a global perspective and experience working with youth through various organizations

Freddy Latham seeks 2nd term as Abbotsford trustee

The retired drama teacher notes extensive experience with the local arts community

UPDATE: One dead after serious crash in rural Abbotsford

Two trucks collide at an intersection on Sumas Prairie

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Freeland brings optimism back to NAFTA talks

NAFTA talks resume in Washington

BC Children’s warns of possible PayPal fraud

Recipients are asked to forward the emails to PayPal

Increased security, staffing changes coming to Colony Farms

Coquitlam Forensic Psychiatric Hospital to get new safety measures, stop patient-on-staff violence

Still too many B.C. seniors in care facilities, or at home on drugs

Seniors Advocate watching use of antipsychotics, opioids

Police raid Langley home in search for ‘extremely violent’ murder suspect

Several law enforcement agencies were at a Willoughby home, hunting for a man charged with murder.

Officials: 3 killed in shooting at Maryland Rite Aid centre

FBI described the Aberdeen incident as an ‘active shooter situation’

The hunt for online herb: feds seek dope on hazy world of pot’s ‘cryptomarket’

In less than a month, Canada to be first industrialized country to legalize recreational marijuana

Despite protests, Russia’s anti-doping agency reinstated

On a 9-2 vote, the executive committee declared RUSADA as having satisfied conditions

Most Read