Henderson County sheriff’s officials will use a drone after it was donated to the department.
â€śThis drone will make our team more effective,â€ť Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said in a press release. â€śWeâ€™ve already seen where the mere presence of the vehicle helped drive a wanted man to arresting deputies. And we know that these aircraft give hope to people lost in rough, overgrown terrain.â€ť
The Inspire 1 drone was donated by Henderson County Crime Stoppers. It is equipped with a camera system for video and still photography, and it has zoom and thermal capabilities so the pilot can see up-close and at night, the press release shows. Deputy Kyle Pochobradsky has been trained by the Federal Aviation Administration and licensed to pilot the drone.
â€śThis weapon in his arsenal will be deployed during manhunts, cases of kidnapped or missing children, missing elderly, active-shooter sites and post-crime scene analysis,â€ť Hillhouse said.
The drone has GPS tracking, can reach speeds of 49 miles per hour, weighs just under seven pounds and comes with an iPad monitor and necessary back-up batteries for longer flight times. Equipment and training cost $15,000.
â€śBest known for deployment by police in major metropolitan areas and by the military, drones are now making their way to rural venues when forward-thinking leaders are willing to embrace this new technology,â€ť Hillhouse said.
Pochobradsky, a 13-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, attended a seminar during which flying techniques and rules and regulations were taught. The FAA requires that drone pilots attend training sessions every two years for recertification.
â€śFirst, you donâ€™t want to crash the vehicle, and second, you must respect and follow the rules,â€ť he said. â€śCitizen privacy is critical. Height, distance, speed and visual contact are the guidelines we have to follow to make this tool work best.â€ť
Hillhouse said that use of police and law enforcement drones across the country has spiked in recent yearsÂ â€” growing more than 500 percent.
â€śI know the drone will become a vital tool in our operation,â€ť he said. â€śAn eye-in-the-sky will allow our men and women on the front lines to respond more quickly to any challenge or crisis the people of this County face or find themselves in.â€ť