The Sioux Falls Police Department initiated its Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) program in 2019 and spent over a year researching the project before its official implementation June 22. While developing the program and applying for grants to purchase the aircraft, the department studied the use of UAS technology in public safety operations, while also researching best practices, policies, and procedures regarding the use of UAS technology in law enforcement, according to an announcement on the department's website.
With a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, Sioux Falls police bought two DJI Matrice 210 V2 drones and trained six veteran officers to use the equipment. The grant was about $60,000, UAS team leader Sgt. Kevin Henkel told the Argus Leader.
Before the UAS program was launched, selected sworn police officers received training in the operation of UAS technology and earned required certifications necessary to operate drones in the performance of their law enforcement duties.