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In Nebraska drones help cops cut down on road closure time after crashes

Posted at 6:35 PM, Feb 20, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The average road closure for crash investigations in 2020 was two and a half hours, the Nebraska State Patrol says. But with the use of drones, in 2022, that was cut down to less than 45 minutes.

When there's a full crash investigation, there's a lot of mapping to do, says NSP Sgt. Justin Grint. That includes measuring skid marks and where debris and the points of impact are.

The time-saving results in about $2 million by motorists a year, NSP estimates. It also makes the roads safer, Grint said. It cuts down on the time that traffic is diverted into places not designed for it, which can cause more accidents, and allows law enforcement to spend less time at a scene that could prove dangerous for them if a driver veers off course.

"The faster we can get things cleared up ... the better off it is for everybody involved," Grint said.

Troopers also used drones to aid in fighting wildfires last year. They detected hot spots and gave firefighters on the ground a live look from above.

NSP has 35 licensed drone operators.

On Monday, the Nebraska State Patrol used the drone pilot program in an effort to recruit applicants on social media. Applications for NSP's July camp are open until the end of April.

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