(CBS4)– The Colorado Department of Public Safety said an operation Monday ruled that some of the drone sightings were actually commercial aircraft in the distance and there does not appear to be any threat to the public. But a report of a close call with a helicopter has the agency concerned and considering more flights, using a plane often sent on firefighting missions.
“I think we’re all asking ourselves that same question, we’ve asked the military, we’ve asked energy companies, we’re trying to find it out as well,” said Stan Hilkey, the executive director of the Department of Public Safety. “It is odd that nobody yet has been able to detect what it is.”
The operation including a surveillance team on the ground as well as a multi-mission aircraft (MMA) looking for a thermal signal that could be picked up by the plane. The Colorado Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management says there was a report of a drone coming in dangerous proximity to a medical helicopter on Wednesday evening. The agency tweeted that this incident does increase the concern about suspicious activity in northeastern Colorado.
“We don’t want to see any kind of tragedy happen because of this unknown activity,” Hilkey said.
While there are important facilities and resources in the area that need to be protected, there is also the chance that some sightings that sound to be independent are actually the same as previously mentioned to authorities.
“This story starts to get a life of its own and sometimes the reporting to gets circular,” he said. “There’s military assets in the area, there’s oil and gas assets area.”
The Department of Public Safety working with various agencies also wants to remind the public that this could be activity that isn’t in violation of any laws. If that is the case, they hope the operator using drones will come forward to help clear up the confusion. Until then, there is no evidence of a criminal case or danger to the state.
“There could be something doing something perfectly legit and perfectly legal,” Hilkey said. “At this point, we have no information to suggest that.”
There weren’t any additional flights announced using the MMA but the incident with the helicopter has increased the chance they may use that aircraft again. The case involving that helicopter as well as the drone sightings remains under investigation. Anyone who thinks they may see a drone is reminded to contact law enforcement, not attempt to resolve the matter on their own.
“We just don’t know what we don’t know and we should be in the business of trying to find that out on the behalf of our citizens,” he said.