BATON ROUGE, LA — July 25, 2019 — In the wake of Hurricane Barry, Axon, the global leader in connected public safety technologies, assisted the City-Parish of East Baton Rouge in surveying and assessing storm damage. As part of the Axon Aid pilot, Axon’s new disaster aid program, a team of emergency-response experts and key city-parish personnel conducted drone-aided analysis of the parish’s drainage systems. This was done at no cost to taxpayers; Axon provided for its on-site team’s needs and gave local responders a real-time view of conditions on the ground.
“Any time we can leverage existing partnerships with companies that have capabilities beyond the scope of local government in order to improve our delivery of public services to our citizens, I want to capitalize on those opportunities,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. “I’m grateful to Axon for reaching out to us to offer this drone footage assessment that will ultimately benefit our drainage capabilities and our emergency preparedness. This is yet another example of ways we can work with partners to add value for our citizens.”
Axon used aerial drones’ and its Axon Fleet 2 vehicles’ cameras to capture high-resolution images of areas of concern in the city-parish’s drainage infrastructure. The information was accessible through Axon Evidence, a digital evidence management tool. Areas captured include:
- Dawson Creek from Claycut Road to Congress Boulevard
- Corporation Canal from Terrace Street to Stanford Avenue
- Mississippi River levee from Skip Bertman Drive to Hollywood Casino
- Monte Sano Bayou from the Mississippi River through Monte Sano Park
- Manchac Road and Alligator Bayou Road along Bayou Manchac
"Baton Rouge Police and the entire Baton Rouge community are thankful to have Axon's assistance during Barry's Tropical Storm. Over 900 photos that were provided to us by drone imagery before, during and after the storm were very beneficial in helping us track potential problem areas within the parish,” Baton Rouge Police Department Chief Murphy Paul said. “We hope to have Axon Aid’s continued support during emergency situations.”
The Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and the maintenance and transportation and drainage departments will use Axon’s data to improve repairs and maintenance of EBR’s stormwater drainage system. Axon will provide the city-parish, at no cost, all of its footage, comprising seamless composite images of the sites it examined. The images will be published in EBRGIS’s Map Portal. Also, MOHSEP will submit to FEMA Axon’s documentation of trouble spots along EBR’s canals and levee, and crews’ repairs and improvements to those sites.
Axon is the BRPD’s body camera contractor. The Axon Aid program is active during Hurricane Season, from June through November, to assist cities with damage assessments caused by natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding, and earthquakes.
"What makes Axon Aid stand apart from other disaster initiatives is that we put no burden on the agency to support our team logistically when they are dealing with chaos and panic in their community," said Brandy Shaffer, Axon’s drone program manager. "Our self-sufficient team provides the drones, collects and uploads the data, and then helps the city or agency assess that data for damage to the city's infrastructure. This model mirrors the typical Axon model — bettering the process from the very beginning to the very end."