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Lehigh Valley

Lehigh University police put eye in the sky above campus in Bethlehem

Lehigh police put eye in the sky above campus; video report by WFMZ's Kyle Rogers

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh University Police Department has added a tool which will enhance safety and security on its campus in Bethlehem, according to Chief Edward Shupp.

The university police force is using a drone to assist with security on a campus of thousands of students and visitors daily.

Shupp said the force purchased the drone about 15 months ago, and one police officer in the crime prevention unit is certified to use the flying machine, per FAA regulations.

So far, Shupp said the drone has been able to assist in some investigations, including bear sightings, lost children and reports of shots fired.

"With something like the drone, we could pinpoint exactly where the bear was at the time," said Shupp.

He added that the tool can help with reports of lost children, since the campus has extensive wooded areas.

The university has more than 100 cameras on its campus, however, the drone allows police to see scenes and situations unfold from above.

"It took extensive training, classwork, and very extensive tests to prepare," said Shupp.

The drone also includes a thermal imaging camera to allow the officer to use the camera at night. It picks up images through heat. The tool came in handy a couple of weeks ago of a report of shots fired on top of the mountain near Lehigh University.

"We put the drone up at that time to look for any type of suspicious activity," Shupp said.

Shupp said he plans to have three of four more officers trained and certified to use the drone.

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