OUR Clemson

Public Safety adds drone technology to enhance service and campus safety



Last Saturday, Clemson Public Safety departments added a modern tool to provide security at the football game against Louisiana Tech. Using its new drone to increase observation of traffic flow around campus from a fixed location, incident commanders supported gameday operations and assisted with the efficient movement of resources to address issues before they became more serious.

In May, Clemson Public Safety acquired the Autel EVOII Enterprise System, which is only available to public safety departments. The Enterprise System has a public address speaker allowing police to communicate with lost or missing persons during searches. It also has a dual spotlight for nighttime operations.

Its camera has thermal imaging, which can help locate missing persons, fleeing or hiding subjects and unconscious individuals who may be unable to respond to efforts to locate them. The thermal camera also is valuable for finding hot spots in extinguished fires that may reignite or in structures that have not yet caught fire.

For the past several months, police officers, security specialists, firefighters and Emergency Management staff have been training on the skills necessary for a successful drone program. They have completed FAA training to receive their FAA Part 107 pilots’ licenses, develop operational guidelines and conduct actual flight operations under the supervision of a licensed drone pilot. The new team also has observer personnel in addition to licensed pilots. The pilot and observer work as a team during flight operations to monitor the drone flight, communicate with FAA towers and watch for other aircraft or obstructions.

While this first flight monitored traffic flow during a football game, the drone is expected to be used in various situations.  It will be utilized during fires to survey the area and communicate information to command personnel to deploy resources, keep responders safe and identify hot spots. It can provide critical information during search and rescue missions on land and water and will support police searching for missing persons, mapping crash scenes and can provide situational awareness for first responders in dangerous situations. Additionally, it can assist Emergency Management and other campus partners during response and recovery operations, such as damage assessments after severe weather or other disasters.  

“In today’s environment, first responders must use every type of technology to support operations that enhance safety and security of the community,” said Associate Vice President for Public Safety, Greg Mullen. “The addition of the Autel EVOII Enterprise System is another tool to assist Clemson Public Safety during planned events. It also increases our ability to gather information that supports our response in critical incidents and keeps our responders and the community safe.”

“CU Public Safety’s purpose is to enhance safety, reduce risk and prevent harm,” he added. “We are committed to keeping Clemson’s students, staff, faculty and guests safe while providing an environment where people live, learn and thrive. This new capability aligns perfectly with our purpose and will aid us in our determination to provide excellent service to the campus community.”