Ventura Sheriff’s Office Using Drones at Accident Sites


Ventura Sheriff’s Office Using Drones at Accident Sites

I’m Ed Smith, a Ventura car accident lawyer. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is using drones to help map accidents, look for people who are missing and photograph crime scenes. The drones can also be used in conjunction with the fire department to map brush fires. The ability to videotape where accidents have occurred may be helpful at crash sites and in cases where a crash has been caused by a negligent driver.

Requirements for Drone Use in a Professional Capacity

The Federal Aviation Administration has more stringent requirements for an operator to fly a drone that isn’t used for hobby purposes. However, with the passage of Unmanned Aircraft Systems rule 14 CFR part 107, it has become simpler for police, fire departments and commercial businesses to utilize drones. A pilot’s license is no longer needed, and this type of use no longer requires personal approval from the FAA.

There are concerns over the use of drones by law enforcement with regard to privacy issues. If the drone drops below the 400-foot level, the operator must have a warrant. Likewise, if the drone is flown over a private residence, a warrant is necessary.

Team members had to obtain FAA authorization to fly only in certain areas. With training complete, the team operators are able to fly the drones over a wider area.

Drone Operation in Ventura

The sheriff’s office in Ventura employs 10 persons to operate four drones. In accidents involving motor vehicles, the drone can not only be used to photograph the scene but to follow the path the vehicle/vehicles took before the crash occurred. Prior to the use of drones, a photographer would have to use fire truck ladders to get aerial shots. This was not only dangerous but time-consuming and may have interfered with the fire department’s work.

Investigating a Motor Vehicle Crash

The use of drones will help with forensics and in assigning fault in a crash. An injury lawyer, whose job it is to gather evidence to prove negligence in order to obtain compensation for a victim, can use this type of information to help build a strong case against the defendant.

Drones in Use by the Ventura Sheriff’s Office

The sheriff’s office has several Qube drones that are three-feet in length and several Phantoms that are about a foot long. The drones weigh 5.5 pounds and 3 pounds respectively. The only added cost is for the training of personnel to operate them since team members also have other job duties. The drones also require periodic maintenance. The smaller drone can stay afloat for 23 minutes, and the bigger one can be flown for 40 minutes.

Drone Use in Search and Rescue

According to the police chief,  the drone team has been helpful in efforts for search and rescue and works in conjunction with helicopters. The drones are capable of covering more ground and are more useful when looking in tight spots.

Ventura Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Ventura car accident lawyer. When someone has been injured by a driver who is negligent, they can face medical bills, lost time from work and other expenses through no fault of their own. If you or a family member has been injured, give me a call today at (805) 372-0200. My advice is free and always friendly. I also have a toll-free line at your disposal at (800) 404-5400.

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I have practiced law for 35 years in California. Over the years, I have offered legal assistance to many residents of the state with their traumatic injury or wrongful death cases, including Ventura and the surrounding county.

As a member of Million Dollar Advocates Forum, I belong to a legal group of top trial lawyers who have won settlements/verdicts of at least $1 million for injured clients.

My website,, offers helpful information on many types of personal injuries.

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