Stoney Nakoda RCMP will be participating in a pilot program that will test out the effectiveness of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), otherwise known as drones, in responding to calls.

They are only one of three communities selected to participate in these trials this year.

This technology is already being used by the Alberta RCMP for various incidents, including traffic accident reconstruction, search and rescue, major crimes investigation, and emergency response calls.

Under this program, they will be exploring possible new ways this technology can be used to ensure the safety of everyone in Alberta, and determine how drones can be used to better serve our communities.

From June 4th to 25th, they will be testing a new type of service delivery, where these drones will assist police by providing air support for certain types of calls.

During this program, drones will be deployed from the Stoney Tribal Administration Building in Morley for various calls, including crimes in progress, flight from police, suspicious persons, missing persons, to assist EMS and the Fire Department, and support natural disaster response.

The decision to explore and expand drone usage by law enforcement in Alberta was made following the thorough research and use of the technology by law enforcement from other jurisdictions, on top of the recommendations to increase air support made by the Mass Casualty Commission, following the Mass Casuality event in Nova Scotia in 2020.

In a media release from June 3rd, Inspector Dave Brunner, who is the Officer in Charge of the Stoney Nakoda RCMP, stated they are excited to work with the people of Stoney Nakoda to help figure out new ways they can serve the community.

"These RPAS trials will give us the opportunity to test new technology and develop new methodologies that will help ensure the safety of members, our communities, and help us continue to build trust and confidence with the people we serve," explained Brunner.

In order to ensure the program is developed in a way that best meets the needs of Albertans, the RPAS program expansion is being done in consultation with law enforcement partners, industry experts, the RCMP National RPAS Program, and municipal and provincial governments.

Once this trial program is completed, the RCMP will evaluate the program to determine if drones can be used to enhance public safety and will update the public once they have made a decision.

"The Stoney Nakoda Nation welcomes the RCMP Drone-Trial Project and looks forward to assisting them in providing an enhanced police service to First Nations while respecting the privacy and culture of our people," explained the Stoney Nakoda Tribal leadership in the media release. "We hope this new technology will aid the RCMP in reducing the levels of drug trafficking, the crime and pain this brings to our Nation.  We look forward to receiving further briefings from the RCMP on the results of the trial and how this new capability will aid in providing increased safety and security to our people."

To learn more about the RPAS trials, head over to the RCMP webpage.