Ongoing training and education have always been critical to success in public safety. Technology shifts accelerate the need, and it’s never been more evident than in the world of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS).
At Nomad, we’ve been tuned into the high-flying “drone-iverse” for years. We regularly contribute to thought leadership conferences like Commercial UAV Expo and DJI Airworks, and have worked with customers ranging from Menlo Park (CA) Fire and Alabama Department of Transportation, to global telecom players like Skyward, A Verizon Company.
Whether attending an event or developing a new UAS mobile operations solution, there’s a common thread; We love learning and teaching alongside our customers and partners. In early October, 2021, we had the chance to do just that… Hosting the inaugural Nomad Drone Operations Training (N.DOT) in our Northwest Montana stomping grounds (and airspace).
With a curriculum developed and led by our friends at the SC Public Safety Drone Pilot Association (SCPSDPA), select Montana law enforcement professionals spent two days absorbing the essentials of public safety drone ops. Day 1 took students through a crash course (no pun intended) on the history of drones in policing, FAA rules and regs, flight logging, real-world use cases, and even some indoor flying with a pint-sized multi-rotor.
Instructor Bob Besley, a law enforcement veteran with over four decades of service, understands the full spectrum of incredible opportunities and challenges around public safety UAS. “There’s no doubt drones are the way of the future for law enforcement,” he said.
On day 2, Besley launched into the really fun stuff, with students progressing through a number of hands-on, scenario-based flights. We highlighted the capabilities of Nomad’s Tactical Command Vehicle (TCV) as a ground control station, and the Flathead County (MT) Sheriff’s Office also participated. K-9 handler Patrick McGauley (and pup Audie) led students through a mock mission, clearing a simulated target in an expansive rural field. “Any opportunity to train, we’re there,” McGauley said.
Nomad partner Dejero even made an appearance, demonstrating the power of its highly portable EnGo solution to transmit secure live video from remote locations. When coupled with an always-on connectivity workhorse like the TCV, the applications in public safety and law enforcement are significant and far-reaching.
N.DOT students earned 13 Certified P.O.S.T. hours, 13 CEU from SCPSDPA, real world flight instruction, and great insight into advocating for and launching a public safety drone program. Perhaps more importantly, there was the camaraderie of training alongside fellow law enforcement professionals and the tech solutions providers who serve them. By the end of the course, as much as they were being taught, students were guiding and helping one another.
And SCPSDA’s upstart UAS education programs? As Bob Besley humbly put it, “They’re taking off.”