All-Points Bulletin: All units — be on the lookout for yet another gang of American police agencies ramping up the drone use for public-safety missions. These drones are unarmed and not dangerous.
Grand Isle County Sheriff Ray Allen thinks drones are a grand idea for law enforcement. According to the Burlington Free Press, Allen’s department recently invested $7,000 in a new police drone (model unknown) and Allen says he wants to use the craft to both protect and educate the public. In addition to potentially using the UAV for search-and-rescue missions, Allen is also launching drone demonstrations at area schools and keeps a display board gallery of images taken by the aircraft in his office.
“We just use it as another eye in the sky for search and rescue,” Sgt. Dustin Abell told the Free Press and added that the drone will not be used for surveillance. In fact, under the terms of the Coast Guard grant Grand Isle obtained, the UAV can only be used for “preservation of life.”
Despite concerns raised by the state’s ACLU chapter, Allen does not anticipate any complaints about privacy issues. Vermont already has stringent regulations in place to protect residents from both manned and unmanned aerial surveillance. The Free Press states that the Grand Isle UAV project is one of the first in the state.
If they can each get approval from their respective councils, three Ohio law-enforcement agencies will soon be flying high in the drone-o-sphere.
The Toledo Police Department entered into a provisional “memorandum of understanding” with the Oregon (the town) Police Department and the Lucas County Sheriff’s Department to share the cost of a $75,000 Lockheed Martin Indago.
The quadcopter can be folded up for carrying, is just 32x32x7 inches and weighs five pounds. It can reach a distance of as much as three miles and can fly for 45 minutes when its operator uses the handheld ground control system.
Under the memorandum, Oregon and Toledo will each pay 45 percent of the hefty price tag while Lucas County will pay 10 percent.
“I think technology is the future,” Oregon police Chief Mike Navarre said. “These are going to be very commonplace in not just police departments, but fire departments also. The uses for unmanned aircraft in public safety are unlimited.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.