Next month, Cochrane RCMP will participate in a pilot program to test Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), commonly known as drones, to evaluate their effectiveness in responding to service calls.

Detachment Commander, Insp. Dave Brunner said the Stony Nakoda First Nation was chosen as one of three test sites in Alberta for the RPAS program

"Come June, we're going to have some drones and some test pilots and stuff working on that. We're looking at a whole bunch of different scenarios on how we can make that work to utilize a drone and enhance public safety because that's what it's all about. Certainly the second step on that would be police safety."

Using drones to enhance policing is not a new concept stated Brunner, many major US cities have long used drones as first responders and for frontline intelligence gathering. Now, Alberta is beginning to introduce this technology.

"In the States, they use them for missing persons and all kinds of stuff, evidence gathering and certainly high risk incidents. We think there's a capacity for it in Alberta."

Lac La Biche and Red Deer were also selected as test sites.

"We're pretty excited about it, I think it's a good program. We're right on the very ground floor of this whole project and it's kind of a privilege to be selected and have it in our community."