What is the purpose of the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Unit?
The Mount Pleasant Police Department UAS Unit operates several small unmanned aerial systems which are one of many public safety tools available to officers in an ongoing effort to keep Mount Pleasant residents and visitors safe.
What are the specifications of the equipment being used by the Aviation Unit?
The UAS Unit is comprised of three specially-trained police officers from various areas of the department. These officers are trained to use the Small Unmanned Aerial Systems in a variety of public safety operations such as helping to find missing individuals, searching for suspects who are actively fleeing from the police and providing assistance in assessing damages and losses from natural disasters. These UAS can also be used to take forensic photographs of complex crime scenes.
When and where can the system fly?
The UAS operate anywhere within the geographic boundaries of the city limits of Mount Pleasant or in another jurisdiction when requested by another agency. Pilots coordinate flights with local governing air space to assure safety. The UAS is flown within the visual line of sight of the pilot. Once a defined incident perimeter has been established the pilot works with commanders to obtain objectives for the flight mission. Pilots communicate observations to commanders providing real time information to those involved.
Will my privacy be impacted?
Maintaining an individual’s privacy and protecting the civil liberties of all persons is paramount to the Mount Pleasant Police Department. The department is bound by federal and Texas state laws that direct search and seizures. The small unmanned aerial system is no different than a police officer watching an area from an elevated position. In order for a police officer to be present and searching for someone or something, the officer must have a search warrant or a judicially- recognized exception to a search warrant. The same requirements apply to the operation of the UAS.