Hermosa Police play I spy with my little drone to find missing kids

Hermosa Beach Police Detective Kurt Mateko on the Hermosa Green Belt, where his department’s Mavic 2 drone helped find a missing child two weeks ago. Photo by Kevin Cody

by Kevin Cody

Two Saturdays ago, a frantic grandmother called 911 to report she had lost her young grandchild at the beach in Hermosa Beach. Police quickly found the child at the water’s edge, a block away from where the grandmother last saw the child.

The following day, police received a call from a Hermosa Beach family whose special needs child had disappeared. Police found the child a short time later running on the Green Belt.

Hermosa Beach Police Chief Paul LeBaron, in his report to the city council last week, credited finding the  children to his department’s “Drone for First Responders” program. 

“If the community sees our drones flying overhead, it doesn’t necessarily mean a crime is in progress,” the chief said.

Hermosa’s drones are based at the police station, and in patrol cars, and can be quickly dispatched. Since acquiring the drones two years ago, eight Hermosa officers, and five public works employees have become certified drone operators.

The chief described the camera- and heat sensor-equipped drones as “effective, and inexpensive.” ER


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