Leamington by-law enforcement officers to use drone technology

Drone

By-law enforcement officers in Leamington now have the option of using drone technology to investigate potential infractions.

The Municipality's By-law Enforcement division will utilize a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), also known as a drone, where authorized by law, to capture by-law infractions and gather evidence.

Mike Gruszka, Manager of By-Law Enforcement for the Municipality of Leamington, says they were approved and supported by Council to receive training for the drone technology, sharing the equipment with the Leamington Fire Service.

Gruszka says they can now use the drone to capture images and evidence that would traditionally be done by walking on a property and taking pictures with a camera.

"Properties that we enter, it's unknown for us what we're encountering. It could acres and acres of property with potholes, ticks, animals, unknown terrain, so now by doing this, it's a great officer safety piece for our members," he says.

Gruszka says the drone could be used for investigating property standard or land maintenance issues, and identifying illegal cannabis locations.

"They can be very large scale and now we can enter on that property, and maybe this is where that officer safety piece comes into effect the most, is we can put up that drone and capture the information and images we require by not putting out officers at risk," he says.

Gruszka stresses that they can't just put up the drone and send it anywhere they want.

"We have to have lawful reasons to be on that property and supported by a law to be on there," he says. "Then we go about our business of collecting evidence and doing our business as usual for by-law."

The by-law enforcement officers operating the drones received advanced training according to Transport Canada standards and guidelines.

Along with Gruszka, the Municipality of Leamington has five other officers in the by-law enforcement office.

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