The mission of the Roseville Police Department’s Drone Program is it to provide airborne support to police operations in a safe, responsible, and transparent manner to preserve the peace, reduce response times, and increase the quality of life in the city of Roseville.
UAS Pilot Officer Ellies in a test flight
Small, remotely operated Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), also commonly referred to as drones, are an efficient and effective way of providing law enforcement critical information to respond to calls for service and emergency situations, or to conduct criminal investigations. Some examples include providing an overhead view of an area or incident for ground personnel, safely clearing the interior of buildings, providing detailed documentation of crime and accident scenes, and searching for lost or missing persons.
The Roseville Police Department currently has eight trained UAS pilots. Our pilots serve on a variety of shifts to be available for crime scene use.
From left to right: Pilot Officer Ellies, Pilot Sergeant Koehler, and Pilot Officer Figueiredo
Thanks to the generosity of the Roseville Police Foundation, our team was able to add an additional drone this year. The following is a list of our current UAS equipment:
One DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise with Smart Controller
Two DJI Mini 3 Pros
One Firehouse Technology Command Case
One Colorado Drone Quick Charging Case
As the demand for UAS services grows, we expect to grow our fleet in terms of both equipment and pilot officers. Continue reading for more information on the history of our program and proper UAS usage.
In May 2021, RPD began to study the use of the technology in its public safety operations. UAS Committee members met dozens of times to study best practices, policies, and procedures regarding the use of UAS technology in law enforcement. A special focus of the team’s research was an effort to address concerns about public trust, civil liberties, and the public’s right to privacy during the operation of RPD UAS systems.
Prior to implementing its UAS Program, RPD discussed its plan for UAS operations in the media, in public forums, and in posted information about the project on the RPD website. This outreach included a mechanism for the public to contact or email the UAS Team to comment on RPD’s UAS policy, to express concerns, or provide feedback. It is important to note that, out of respect for civil liberties and personal privacy, RPD’s UAS policy specifically prohibits the use of UAS systems for general surveillance or general patrol operations. After exhaustive planning and research, RPD activated its UAS Program in the spring of 2022 to support tactical operations by RPD first responders.
CAT Officer Olson training with UAS
RPD Drone Operators shall not use a UAS without a search warrant, except (Minn. Stat. § 626.19):
(a) During or in the aftermath of an emergency situation or disaster that involves the risk
of death or bodily harm to a person.
(b) Over a public event where there is a heightened risk to the safety of participants or
(c) To counter the risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization if the
agency determines that credible intelligence indicates a risk.
(d) To prevent the loss of life or property in natural or man-made disasters and to facilitate
operation planning, rescue, and recovery operations.
(e) To conduct a threat assessment in anticipation of a specific event.
(f) To collect information from a public area if there is reasonable suspicion of criminal
(g) To collect information for crash reconstruction purposes after a serious or deadly
collision occurring on a public road.
(h) Over a public area for officer training or public relations purposes.
(i) For purposes unrelated to law enforcement at the request of a government entity,
provided the request is in writing and specifies the reason for the request and a
proposed period of use.
Prohibited UAS use:
The UAS video surveillance equipment shall not be used:
• To conduct random surveillance activities.
• To target a person based solely on actual or perceived characteristics such as
race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or
expression, economic status, age, cultural group, or disability.
• To harass, intimidate, or discriminate against any individual or group.
• To conduct personal business of any type.
The UAS shall not be weaponized (Minn. Stat. § 626.19).