– The good example here is Gjerdrum. There, the drones changed the rules of the game. We had drones from the police, fire brigade and the defense that continuously monitored the edge of the avalanche while we had people down and searched for the missing, says operative leader in the drone service, Jørgen Ronge.
Together with several other incidents where the drones have proven to be very useful, the quick clay landslide in Gjerdrum became the clear answer that the drones are a necessary tool.
– Our work in Gjerdrum became Europe’s largest drone operation, and it really showed what the value of them is, says Ronge.
Since 2019, the police have had drones in three police districts, as a pilot project. Work is now underway to further train selected police officers from all police districts.
– The police have normally not had much experience of operating in the air. It has only been the helicopter service that we have in Eastern Norway, but in the rest of the police districts they have not dealt with what happens in the air, says Ronge.
That is changing now. There is one factor in particular that Ronge believes stands out now that the police are using drones.
– It is probably this with intrinsic security that is perhaps the most important point here. We can reduce the risk of our own crews in many different assignments, such as natural disasters and searches for dangerous people. We can observe from a distance, so that we can more easily make the right decisions, says Ronge.
– All police districts will also be assigned a drone vehicle. The vehicle ensures that the drone pilot has long endurance. Instead of standing outside and freezing, they can sit inside the car with large screens and have a full overview, says Ronge.
The drones are paid for by central funds. The costs thus do not burden the police districts’ budgets.
Well underway with training drone pilots
– In search and rescue operations, we know that the drones will help save lives, says Per Øyvind Haugen, police inspector in the Police Directorate.
He emphasizes that the training the police officers now receive is not taken lightly.
– The Police Academy has developed an educational program. We have selected police officers from all the police districts, who will now receive training here at the Police Emergency Response Center.
They are well underway. Møre og Romsdal, Finnmark and Innlandet have these days finished their education and will go home to their police districts with drones and drone vehicles. Haugen states that there will be police officers with drone training in all police districts during the year.
Police officer Stian Helstad Henningsen in Møre og Romsdal police district is one of those who can now call himself a drone pilot. He has no doubt that the drones will be a useful tool for his police district.
– It will be very nice. We will get assignments solved more efficiently, and get a better understanding of the situation, so that we can solve police actions in the best possible way, says Henningsen.