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


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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

Public art budgets could be used for gardens, Abbotsford councillor suggests

‘Gardens really are art,’ Coun. Brenda Falk says

SLIDESHOW: Chilliwack firefighters battle large blaze at Rosedale chicken barn Friday

Majority of birds saved but buildings on Castleman Road destroyed by fire

Plainclothes Abbotsford police officer deletes cellphone video after drawing gun on innocent man

‘They never asked me what I was doing there, strictly came out with guns, threatening to shoot me’

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

FURTHER UPDATE: Body removed from Maple Ridge hotel after large police presence

A large contingent of Mounties were at the Art Infiniti Hotel Friday afternoon and evening

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Most Read