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Here's how Kentucky police are using drones to 'forensically map' crime, collision scenes

Kentucky State Police led an aerial training course for local law enforcement agencies, including Louisville Metro Police and the Hardin County Sheriff's Office.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Local law enforcement agencies across Kentucky are using drones to improve public safety.

According to a release, Kentucky State Police hosted a five-day training course this month on unmanned aerial systems (UAS). It taught officers how to use drones for 'forensic mapping' to better assess crime and collision scenes.

On Friday, Hardin County Sheriff's Deputy Travis Cook told WHAS11 the technique could reduce cleanup times dramatically.

"Depending on the size of the scene, and how much ground we have to cover, that's a four to six hour task," Cook said. "With the drone, it's like a 30-minute task. The quicker we can clear that roadway and get that traffic back flowing, it brings that secondary collision likelihood way down."

Cook is one of two Hardin County deputies trained to fly the team's two drones, each with cameras attached.

Since purchasing them a year ago, Sheriff John Ward says they've used them to investigate crime scenes, including a murder case, as well as missing persons reports.

"They can be used in many different ways: Search-and-Rescue, surveillance, accident reconstruction, crime scene mapping," Ward said.

Now, with the help of KSP's instruction, Ward says his deputies can get an ideal view to best clear up collisions and open lanes back up as soon as possible.

"Sometimes the secondary accidents turn out to be much more serious or deadly than the original accident," Ward said.

Diagramming scenes from the sky is becoming more and more popular, and Cook said he hopes residents will soon notice some major differences on the road when crashes occur.

"You got people trying to get to the mall, trying to get home, trying to get to the doctor -- we want to get those people back underway as quickly as we can," Cook said.

Kentucky law enforcement agencies that attended the conference:

  • Elizabethtown Police Department
  • Frankfort Police Department
  • Hardin County Sheriff’s Office
  • Lexington Police Department
  • Louisville Metro Police Department
  • Richmond Police Department
  • Shelby County Sheriff’s Office

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