ISP used drone during standoff

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COEUR d'ALENE - A drone was used by Idaho State Police officers during their investigation into a multi-agency standoff in Coeur d'Alene that ended with a fugitive dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The warrant obtained by ISP detectives allowed photographic documentation of the home on Quincy Court where John David Crispin, a 37-year-old fugitive armed with a gun, barricaded himself Saturday night. According to ISP spokeswoman Teresa Baker, the drone was used to gather aerial photography of the complex.

Baker added that the drone is owned by an ISP detective, who made the aircraft available for use during the investigation.

The standoff was not the first time the state agency has made use of a drone. Baker said an unmanned aircraft was most recently deployed by ISP to document the scene of the August shooting that occurred on Interstate 90 at Post Falls.

Aerial views of a crime scene can serve as an important piece of evidence in the prosecution of criminal cases, she said.

Unlike Kootenai County law enforcement agencies, which have a mutual-aid agreement with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office allowing them to request the use of its helicopter, most police departments in the state don't have access to one. This, according to Baker, makes the use of a drone advantageous because use of the small, unmanned aircraft saves taxpayer money.

"Additionally, the use of an unmanned aircraft is also less intrusive for the neighbors as they are generally small and quiet as opposed to the noise of a helicopter," Baker said. "Their use is also probably safer than a helicopter hovering over a neighborhood."

Baker added that it is unknown whether or not ISP will continue to use the unmanned aircraft in the future.

"But (there) will be a consideration if this type of instrument can help in a particular case to document the evidence on a scene or even for tactical or surveillance purposes," Baker said.

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