The Clinton Township Police Department recently purchased a new drone that is bigger and more robust than the department’s original drone.

The Clinton Township Police Department recently purchased a new drone that is bigger and more robust than the department’s original drone.

Manufacturer’s website image

Bigger, better drone to hover around Clinton Township

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published August 20, 2019


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — On July 2, a situation involving an armed man in the area of Budd Park lasted several hours.

In its attempt to locate the subject, the Clinton Township Police Department utilized all kinds of manpower, as well as the use of helicopters and drones to scour the area in the darkness of night.

Now, the department is upgrading its drone arsenal.

On July 29, the Clinton Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved the transfer of about $4,200 from the drug forfeiture fund to the capital outlay fund for a brand-new, “all-purpose” drone. The total cost of the new drone is about $20,000.

Police Chief Fred Posavetz said drones “come in all shapes and sizes,” as well as “a wide variety of costs.” The new drone can hover through all forms of weather, including rain and heavy winds.

“We have to really take every piece of equipment out there on something like that, because you don’t know in a situation like that what the person’s intentions are,” Posavetz said, describing the situation surrounding Budd Park. “And that’s a little scary and a little unnerving because someone with a long rifle would have the capabilities of hurting a lot of people. We take that very serious, and that’s why we threw so many resources at that problem.”

Previously, the department had sent seven officers to train in drone flying. They became licensed with the Federal Aviation Administration. During that process, officers practiced with a cheaper, smaller drone.

Now, the CTPD has two drones in its possession. Posavetz said that while the smaller drone proved fruitful in the Budd Park situation, rain actually affected its use and forced police to land the aircraft.

The new drone has infrared capability and can look and identify heat signatures, the chief said. It possesses video capabilities that can later be used for evidentiary purposes via computer access and downloading. Also, it has a speaker-like functionality in which officers can speak through the drone’s controller, with sound emitted through the drone itself.

“You can imagine a small one that’s light is going to get tossed around with higher winds,” Posavetz told the board. “And when we’re out there looking for someone — whether it’s a criminal, whether it’s a vulnerable adult, somebody with Alzheimer’s walking away from a nursing home — we want to get out there and we want to find that person, because time is critical. That’s why we want to have the best equipment out there.”

Trustee Ken Pearl said that although the Budd Park situation had people in the area “kind of panicked,” the sight of helicopters and the use of drones was “reassuring.”