Police seek grant to secure mini drone

by Laura Bednar

Sept. 12 township trustees meeting

The Bath Township Police Department is applying for several grants, including one to establish an unmanned aerial system, or drone program. The department will apply for a $3,139 grant through the Bath Community Fund to obtain a mini drone for tasks like search and rescue operations.

“Drones [will be] a great addition to the police department and it will help Bath residents in many ways,” Trustee Sean Gaffney said.

Police Chief and Township Administrator Vito Sinopoli recently attended Unmanned Aircraft System drone operations for public safety training at the Cuyahoga Community College Western Campus in Parma. He is now a certified drone pilot. Bath police plan to use a mini drone and larger drone.

Smaller drones are used for interior searches in which the department “doesn’t want to use personnel,” according to Sinopoli. A mini drone is between 12 and 16 inches in diameter, and a large drone is between 18 and 20 inches in diameter with four fan blades.

During training, Sinopoli said he flew a larger drone so high that he could zoom in and read building signs in downtown Cleveland. He added that the drones would be heat sensitive and able to detect a person stuck in a burning building.

The department will also apply for two State Homeland Security Program grants. The first, for $165,325, would go toward purchasing new radios for the police and fire departments. The other, for $56,767, would be used to purchase equipment needed in the event of a terrorist attack.

Sinopoli said current radios in dispatch and mobile radios in cars are not equipped to handle link layer authentication, a recent standard for radio communication protection. He said the grant request is for six consolette radios, 12 mobile radios for marked and unmarked patrol units, two mobile police radios and three mobile fire radios.

The equipment for a terrorist attack includes 17 respirator masks, replacement mask filters and 10 technical communication devices to use while wearing the masks.

Fire training

Fire Chief Robert Campbell said firefighters participated in fire extinguisher training, which may be open to the community at this year’s “Fall into Nature” event.

The department will apply for a Bath Community Fund grant for fire education training equipment. Campbell said the program, “Stop the Bleed,” trains people to control blood loss in an active shooter situation or other accident. If granted, the money would go toward purchasing Stop the Bleed training aids.

Campbell said he hoped to “offer [stop the bleed] training a few times a year” to the community.

Township tent

The service department is applying for a BCF grant to purchase a multi-purpose tent for township events. Gaffney said the idea came about after a hot Memorial Day celebration. He said a tent would provide shade for the elderly, handicapped or those who are feeling unwell because of the heat. The tent would be secured with weights, rather than stakes pounded into the asphalt.

In other news:

  • Sinopoli said the township received 693 responses to the community survey.
  • Rachel Maykut was hired as a full-time executive assistant for administration for $28 an hour. Sinopoli said she has a background in marketing and communications but not public service. ∞