Find out how this new technology is fighting crime in shore community

One shore community police department is getting some much-needed crime fighting help this summer and it’s coming from high above.

It’s not a bird, or a plane. But it is Ocean City’s newest crime fighting tool. Drones.

The department recently launched its fleet of drones that will patrol the bays, beach and boardwalk. The police say the program is already paying off.

"It’s a great tool for the police department, officers’ safety, public safety. This is our number one goal with having them out here" said Lt. Mark Pancoast, who heads up the police department's drone program. He gave FOX 29 a behind-the-scenes look at the program that has been in the planning stages since March.


Ocean City taking action to protect public after teen violence over Memorial Day weekend

Ocean City Mayor Jay A. Gillian, along with police and other city officials, will announce measures being taken to protect public safety on the boardwalk and throughout the city.

The fleet of three drones and 13 operators, including five FAA Part 107 Certified pilots, is already being put to use.

Within days of launching, the drone squad helped find a missing man found in waist-deep water in the bay. Suspects in a Camden auto theft were tracked down by the drone. And in another incident, police provided Coast Guard eyes in the sky of a stranded boater who capsized.


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A night on the boardwalk took a violent turn when police say a 15-year-old boy became the victim of a stabbing in one of several incidents that kicked off Memorial Day weekend.

"You have the height and the ability to see further, so at night, when it may be pitched dark on the beach, you turn on the infrared you can see four or five blocks" said Lt. Pancoast.

A few weeks ago, an unconscious woman was spotted lying on the beach after dark. She was found by a drone, utilizing infrared technology. The video shows the lights from the drone and police arriving. The woman was able to receive medical attention.


Live video feeds from the drones, police bodyworn cameras and more than 70 cameras around the city are sent to the monitoring center at police dispatch where incident commanders can make decisions watching events in real time. It’s new technology for a new generation of policing.

"A lot of these officers are young. They are born into the technology age, so the days of just sitting in the police car and not having access to information are long gone" added Pancoast.

The department is hoping to expand the program by have more officers become certified pilots.