Drones providing MHP troopers with more versatility

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Trooper Brandon Uhl demonstrates the flight of a DJI Matrice 200.

Gary Marshall, BMGphotos.com TYLER MANNING

For the troopers of the Montana Highway Patrol, there is a single tool that is making their jobs easier, safer and more versatile than ever before.

Welcome to the world of drones.

According to MHP Sgt. Jay Nelson, MHP’s first drone mission was flown in February 2018. Since that time, troopers have flown over 430 missions with 204 flight hours on record.

“We utilized our budget and looked at the technology that was out there,” Nelson said, referring to the initial purchase of drones. Over the years that followed, MHP’s drone fleet has grown and the model they use has been upgraded.

The unmanned aerial vehicles mounted with cameras are now helping troopers with everything from crash analysis to search and rescue and even manhunt situations.

“What we looked at was man hours and cost and how the drones could help us better serve the public,” Nelson said. “What we found is that we are able to provide a

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