MOSES LAKE — Big Bend Community College’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems program spent the weekend collaborating with members of local law enforcement on an accelerated modality of the college’s UMS 107 course.
Officers from the Moses Lake, Othello, Quincy, and Soap Lake Police Departments the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office and the Central Washington University Police spent Saturday morning on the BBCC campus training inside the college’s enclosed flight facility and Sunday morning at McKay Field fulfilling the requirements for the 107 certification.
The FAA Part 107 (drone license) is a set of rules for operating a drone commercially in the U.S. It is also used to refer specifically to the certification drone pilots must have before they can legally offer professional drone services.
“This partnership marks a promising new chapter for BBCC’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) program,” said Unmanned Systems Program Coordinator Ethan Tonnemaker. “Our program was recently restructured, and it’s optimistic to already see such community engagement. We’re very excited to partner with law enforcement, and to add another tool that officers can use to keep themselves and the community safe.
“We have every expectation to continue partnering with local law enforcement, and to branch out to other industry sectors as there are wide-ranging UAS implications for fire departments, search and rescue, agriculture, insurance/accident investigation, infrastructure inspection, real estate and many others.”
Drones are becoming an increasingly popular tool for law enforcement who are using the technology to photograph crash scenes, track suspects, and keep their officers safe. Moses Lake Police Chief Kevin Fuhr said his department has recently purchased its first drone to be used the department’s Tactical Response Team.
“We are adding a drone to our tactical response team to use in high risk situations,” said Moses Lake Police Chief Kevin Fuhr. “The drone is for inside building applications and will be sent into high-risk situations to check the area prior to entry of our team so that our officers will not go into a situation uninformed. It will be a tool to help keep our officers safe.”
Regardless of where you work, in the near future, you’ll probably have a member of your team using a drone. If you’d like to learn more about the drone program, please contact EthanT@bigbend.edu.”