Thanks to funding provided by a generous donation from local business Diamond Pet Foods, Inc. the Ripon Police Department has created an Unmanned Aircraft System unit. This unit, equipped with three commercially-available small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS), can enhance the mission of the Ripon Police Department by providing situational awareness and additional information to officers on the ground.
Operating with FAA approval through a Certificate of Waiver Authorization, or “COA”, Ripon Police Deparment staff are able to operate sUAS, (variously called “Quadcopters”, “UAV”, “UAS”, or “Drones”) to provide aerial video surveillance of operations on the ground. You can view Ripon Police Department’s COA.
One provision in the FAA COA, the document which
authorizes public-use of these aircraft, allows the Police Department to engage in nighttime operation, an activity which is typically forbidden for hobbyist or civic aircraft, and is expressly forbidden for non-public aircraft within Ripon Municipal Code. Ripon Police Department sUAS engaged in nighttime operations will display a blinking, white “Collision Avoidance
Light” as required by FAA regulations. This light, which flashes approximately once per second, is visible for 3 miles, and is a distinct feature of our aircraft.
To ease in identification of Ripon Police Department Aircraft, all sUAS flown by the department will have distinct markings, which mimic the markings on Ripon Police Department Patrol vehicles wherever possible. Additionally, the collision-avoidance light which is a non-standard feature on most sUAS vehicles, will be operated during daytime operations to assist citizens in identifying aircraft operated by the Ripon Police Department.
The distinctive identification markings can be seen in the photos below.
Prior to use acquisition and use of unmanned aircraft, the Ripon Police Department has previously used Experimental Manned Aircraft