PUEBLO – Before dawn Thursday, officers with the Pueblo Police Department deployed their fairly new drone in the effort to track down a man accused of robbing a store, fleeing from police, and setting a truck on fire.
Julian Archuleta was found at a home where officers engaged in a standoff before a peaceful resolution.
Officers tell News5 their drone was incredibly valuable thanks to thermal imagery from above. While it did not help them locate Archuleta, it did allow them to save time by eliminating areas and creating a smaller search zone.
The video from the incident can also be used in court by prosecutors seeking a conviction.
“There is a vast difference when it comes to being able to utitlize those resources in other areas such as setting a perimeter, getting a field or area cleared in more than half the time,” explained Sgt. Richard Reyes.
The unmanned aircraft have assisted in more than 100 cases and emergencies since the program launch in May.
Officers use them to document crime scenes, track down suspects, document traffic crashes, and for a look at flooding. Each officer must complete a training program before being allowed to deploy a drone.
The department bought two drones, which cannot be flown at night or 400 feet above the ground without permission from the FAA. The drones cost the department almost $20,000.