One Year Review: Colorado State Patrol Drone Program Reduces Road Closure Time While Improving First Responder Safety

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(COLORADO) – One year ago, in May 2021, the Colorado State Patrol launched its new drone program for investigating fatal and felony crashes. 

Now after reviewing the data from the first year of operations, the Colorado State Patrol has called its drone program a “resounding success.” By using drones in these types of crash scene investigations, the amount, quality, and accuracy of the information collected far exceeded the previous methods used by the Colorado State Patrol.  The result is a clear, concise, and easy-to-present representation of the scene and evidence. 

Even more notable than the data collected is time saved.  To date, these drones have been used to investigate 331 scenes totaling over 131 hours.  Compared to previous investigation techniques used, it’s estimated to have saved 168 hours of work, which is a 56% reduction in on-scene investigation hours. 

Reduced on-scene time has also reduced road/lane closure time for those traveling in the area.  “The more efficient we can be on the scene, the less our members are exposed to traffic and the dangers associated with working on the roadway,” said Captain Darrell Aulston of the Colorado State Patrol’s Vehicular Crime Unit. “We also are able to limit the number of secondary crashes around these investigation scenes which have been known to cause significant injuries to other motorists as well as longer road closures.”

On June 14, we will remember Master Trooper William Moden, a member of the Victim’s Crime Unit, who was investigating a crash on I-70 near Deer Trail, Colorado three years ago when he was fatally struck by a passing vehicle.  “The Colorado State Patrol will continue to look for avenues to conduct highly detailed, thorough and efficient investigations to ultimately improve the safety of our members and the motoring public,” said Captain Aulston. 


Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs.  In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more.