The Montgomery County Police’s Drone as First Responder Program recently introduced a new unmanned aircraft named Raven, intended to provide essential support to the MCPD and enhance its services to county residents.
According to Elrich, police detectives called for help after witnessing car break-ins along Eastern Ave. and Kennett Street in downtown Silver Spring. The suspects were lost near East-West Highway, but a drone arrived within 30 seconds and used infrared technology to track their body heat.
Two men with loaded weapons were then arrested, Elrich said.
Additionally, Raven played a role in the recent capture of a 31-year-old repeat shoplifter, who had been stealing from the CVS Pharmacy in the 9500 block of Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring on multiple occasions. In each case, the unnamed male suspect left the store before patrol officers responded.
In the most recent incident on November 15, the 3rd District officers were called to the Georgia Ave. CVS at approximately 12:33 p.m. The suspect left the store before the officers arrived, however, Raven was deployed and saw the suspect leaving the store area and boarding a Metrobus. The drone tracked the bus, providing the officers with its location.
Officers stopped the Metrobus at the intersection of Georgia Ave. and Colesville Road around 12:50 p.m. and took the individual into custody.
Charges are pending for the November 15 case, and the investigation into previous shoplifting cases is ongoing, according to MCPD.
“These are two examples of the many ways drones can be used to assist police when patrol officers cannot make it to a scene fast enough,” Elrich said. “Drones are routinely reaching a scene within two minutes of a call. They also have been deployed on disorderly conduct calls, an incident in which someone was missing from the hospital and to look for a vehicle suspected in a hit-and-run incident. I am glad to see these tools are being used effectively and I hope word spreads that drones are at work catching criminals and protecting our community. ”