MOSES LAKE – Big Bend Community College’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems program partnered with members of local law enforcement for drone training over the weekend.
Law enforcement from Moses Lake, Othello, Quincy, Soap Lake, Kittitas County and Central Washington University were on campus Saturday for training inside the college’s enclosed flight facility. On Sunday, the group spent the morning at McKay Field fulfilling requirements for the college’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems 107 certification.
The FAA Part 107, a drone license, is a set of rules for operating a drone commercially in the U.S. and is used certify drone pilots.
“This partnership marks a promising new chapter for BBCC’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) program,” said program Coordinator Ethan Tonnemaker. “Our program was recently restructured, and it’s optimistic to already see such community engagement. We’re very excited to partner with law enforcement, and to add another tool that officers can use to keep themselves and the community safe.”
Tonnemaker added the program expects to continue partnering with law enforcement, and to branch out to other industries including fire departments, search and rescue, agriculture, insurance and accident investigation, infrastructure inspection, real estate and more.
The Grant County Sheriff’s Office launched a drone program several years ago and Moses Lake police Chief Kevin Fuhr says the department is adding a drone to its tactical response team to use in high risk situations.
“The drone is for inside building applications and will be sent into high-risk situations to check the area prior to entry of our team so that our officers will not go into a situation uninformed. It will be a tool to help keep our officers safe.”