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Posted on: June 1, 2021

Bothell Police Seeks Community Input on Aerial Imaging Technology and New Policy

Bothell Police is proposing the addition of a remote operated aerial system (drone).  This technology would be used in collision investigations, search and rescue missions and criminal investigations.  We would like the community to help shape this new policy.

The use of this technology is being expanded across Washington state law enforcement, from the largest, like the Washington State Patrol (which operates more than 100 unmanned units, primarily for crash-investigations),  to some of the smallest local police departments.  For smaller departments,  this technology is a force multiplier,  often making the difference between life and death in search and rescue missions.  It has made crime-scene imaging and analysis more reliable, accurate, and timely – during the critical early-hours of an investigation.

In all police departments with the technology,  it has enabled officers to clear collisions more quickly and reopen busy roadways faster, with immeasurable value to local businesses and residents.  

From high above,  ROAS makes imaging and analysis quick, accurate and efficient.  

Currently, Bothell Police must rely on the availability of this technology through neighboring police departments.  Through mutual aid, other police departments are often willing to lend their technology and their officers to assist – when a ROAS is needed.  But Bothell Police cannot rely on another department’s technology or qualified officers being available – at the times when Bothell could most benefit.  Neighboring departments may already have their ROAS in use,  when a parent in Bothell calls 911 to report a missing child.  

Fortunately for our community,  one of the leading manufacturers in this technology, Autel Robotics, is headquartered in Bothell.  The company, wanting to “give back,” recently donated one ROAS to Bothell Police.  

Bothell Police is currently working to shape a policy on the use of this technology, and we’d like the input of our community.  We have three virtual gatherings scheduled, and we welcome you to register and join us.  


Chat with the Chief:  Thursday June 10, 7:00pm 

Chat with Bothell Police: Thursday June 24,  12:00 – 1:00pm

Chat with Bothell Police: Thursday June 24,  6:00pm

If you're unable to attend any of these events on Zoom,  we still welcome your input.  Email ROAS project coordinator, Captain Mike Johnson at We want everyone to be able to participate in these online gatherings.  If you have any accommodation needs to participate in these gatherings, please contact

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