Wentzville police using drones for traffic monitoring, other purposes

WENTZVILLE, Mo. – Wentzville residents are realizing just because they don’t see a police drone, doesn't mean it’s not watching them.

The Wentzville Police Department is using unmanned drones for a variety of purposes.

“It's just one more tool in the tool bag for our officers to use,” said Jacob Scmidt, Wentzville Police Department.

Recently, the department used one of its drones at a busy stop sign near four schools and the Stone Meadows neighborhood. The drone was 250 feet in the air and caught 17 drivers not stopping at the sign. Police monitored this stop because residents were complaining about people not being safe.

“We don’t just fly them for patrol. We don’t just fly them in an area for no reason,” Schmidt said. “It’s all in response to citizens’ complaints.”

Wentzville resident Tim Boening isn’t sure using drones to monitor stop signs is a good use of time.

“I just think the use of drones is overkill,” he said. “I think the presence of having an officer in a car would have been sufficient.”

In the few months, Wentzville authorities said drones they have aided firefighters battle flames, like last night’s explosion, helped in missing person cases, monitored dangerous traffic areas like Highways 61 and P, and yes, been called in for traffic stops.

“Several police departments are getting them now,” Schmidt said. “You get more bang for your buck than trying to call out Metro Air Support.”

“Where does that stop, what’s next? Drones outside your window?” Boening said.

Wentzville police said nothing like is happening or ever will.

“Compliance is what we're after,” Schmidt said. “It’s not about tickets. It's about compliance and public safety.”