Unmanned Aerial Systems – UAS


Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) support many other BES services and must be flexible enough to complement a wide variety of mission deployments, each with a different focus or need. BES serves as the primary UAS provider for the Boulder County Sheriff Office in the unincorporated areas of Boulder County. Additionally, BES provides UAS services for many fire departments through auto or mutual aid in the region.

All BES members on the UAS flight teams are certified and trained by the FAA as Part 107 pilots. BES also has its own internal training and qualification standards for other roles including payload specialists, visual observers, scribes, communication specialists, flight controllers, and air group supervisor.

BES UAS services:

  • Provide aerial search and reconnaissance for missing person searches.
  • Provide decision-quality data to Incident Command and field units on an incident, including:
    • Search and Rescue
    • Evidence Search
    • Wildland Fire
    • Structure Fire
    • Crime Scene Documentation
    • Hazardous Materials
    • SWAT Operational Support
  • Improve situational awareness.
  • Provide an aerial perspective at a significantly reduced risk and cost compared to that of manned aviation.
  • Assist with rescue of person(s) endangered in water environments.
  • Assist with recovery of person(s) and or evidence in water environments.

Maintaining flight skills is a huge task and requires a large number of hours of flight both day and night to qualify and maintain safety standards. Maintaining UAS equipment is expensive, particularly rechargeable batteries which are subject to rapid charge/discharge cycles and heat buildup on extended missions.