San Antonio police take traffic investigations to new heights with drone technology

SAPD hopes drones will help to reduce investigation time

After a crash happens, it can take several hours to complete. However, SAPD hopes to reduce that time by taking their investigation to new heights.

SAN ANTONIO – The number of traffic related deaths continues to rise as San Antonio police say they have responded to more than 90 deadly crashes in the first five months of 2022.

“Unfortunately, we’re having the same kind of year that we had last year,” said SAPD detective, Daniel Karako.

Karako said there were over 200 deadly crashes in 2021 and so far, the Alamo City is on pace to match that number. Karako said that is often because of the same contributing factors, like drinking and driving, and speeding.

After a crash happens, it can take several hours to complete. However, SAPD hope to reduce that time by taking their investigation to new heights.

Traffic investigators are learning how to use drone technology in their response to crash scenes.

“Hopefully with the drones, we can shorten that response time and ease up the congestion on the highways and get people back to where they need to go and get us back to where we need to be,” Karako said.

Investigators traditionally use digital photography to process crash scenes. Karako said it’s a lengthy process but drones will speed up that time, and take up to 700 pictures for examination.

“The goal is just going to give us a better product for our criminal cases. And it’s going to speed up our crime scene processing,” he said.

Some drones are being used now to investigate crash scenes. SAPD reminds drivers not to be distracted anytime they encounter an investigation on the road.

SAPD said they hope to have all of their traffic investigators certified by the FAA within the next year.


About the Authors:

Steven Cavazos is a traffic anchor and general assignments reporter in the weekday mornings at KSAT 12.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.