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Court documents: Drone leads IMPD directly to suspect in high-speed chase

Technology is helping make policing safer and more efficient.

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man is facing charges, including dealing narcotics and marijuana, after police drones led officers right to the suspect, documents said.

IMPD's drone program has been growing steadily in recent years, helping make police work safer and more efficient in the community.

Five charges were filed against Aaron Dumas by the Marion County Prosecutor on Monday. Police say Dumas led an officer on a high-speed chase last Friday night and into early Saturday morning before eventually crashing his car and taking off on foot. 

Court records say officers found the wrecked car, along with a jar of marijuana, oxycodone pills and cash inside the vehicle. To locate Dumas, an operator with IMPD sent up a drone. 

Credit: WTHR

The probable cause affidavit says within minutes, the drone was able to locate Dumas in a creek bed, allowing police to then bring him into custody. 

It's just the latest arrest to be made with the help of drone technology.   IMPD's drone program has been in place since 2018 and quickly became a vital tool.

"We're making apprehensions, not every day but multiple during the week. We're deploying drones multiple times a day, whether it's for the operational side, the district side or SWAT," said Sgt. Ron Shelnutt, IMPD aviation unit commander. 

Shelnutt said the department has 12 drones and 13 drone pilots. They're able to utilize the technology for locating suspects, using on-board cameras and thermal technology to help locate heat changes on the ground. It allows police to work smarter and faster while making apprehensions for police safer.

Credit: WTHR

"We can't see thermal with our eyeballs, heat. These drones can see that," Shelnutt said. "So what that allows me to do when we're providing overwatch for K9, we can see that heat source, we can warn that K9 team on the ground."

Dumas is facing charges of dealing narcotics and marijuana as well as reckless driving and resisting law enforcement. He's scheduled to be back in court for a hearing next week.

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