Drone Assists Texas Police In Catching Criminals

The Corpus Christi Police used an unmanned drone to locate the criminals who were reported as having weapons.

by Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle / December 8, 2015
With small, relatively low-cost drones available, officials are preparing for the day when thousands could clog the air above Connecticut. Flickr/John Biehler

(TNS) -- It appears that the Corpus Christi Police Department has a new tool in its fight against criminals in that area.

On Friday the department released video footage of a drone assisting officers in smoking out a pair of suspects that were reported to be carrying firearms near Sam Houston Elementary in Corpus Christi.

It all went down just after 9 a.m. on Friday morning.

In the black and white video released online, three officers can be seen from above searching a backyard in a nearby neighborhood. That smaller, four-legged figure is a Corpus Christi PD K9 officer.

They were looking for two suspects that eyewitnesses said were carrying guns.

FLIR thermal imaging technology used by the quadcopter drone above helped officers clear the area. A witness at the scene told KZTV-TV that he and others could see the drone in the air while officers did work on the ground.

Two suspects, Andrew Ramos, 18, and Isaiah Cheatham, 19, were found and later charged with evading arrest. Cheatham was found to be in possession of synthetic marijuana.

Ramos emerged after Cheatham, who was quickly arrested at the scene. No weapons were found on the men but police believe that they may have ditched whatever weapons they had in the area.

Using a relatively quiet drone of course cuts down on the noise of a police helicopter that would give away police movement and disturb neighbors.

Though the drone isn’t being expressly credited for the arrests, they did help officers clear what could have been dangerous backyards.

The type of drone used by the police is made by Maxsur and lists for close to $12,000. It has an average flight time of 25 minutes.

This model, called The Seeker, is one of only two drones made specifically for law enforcement according to Corpus’ KRIS-TV. It can also flight up to 50 miles per hour.

©2015 the Houston Chronicle Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.