Limestone County Sheriff's Office to use drones

Updated: Jul. 28, 2016 at 6:51 PM CDT
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LIMESTONE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - The Limestone County Sheriff's Office will soon use drones now that Sheriff Mike Blakely has signed a $30,000 contract with Avian Solutions.

The department will get three unmanned aerial vehicles, each weighing less than a pound. Six deputies will be trained on these vehicles as well as Federal Aviation Administration rules.

Drone use been controversial, with many people fearful what they can be used for. The sheriff's office public information officer, Stephen Young, said the devices will not be weaponized and will be used for surveillance. Young said they will potentially be used in active shooter or hostage situations, crime scene
investigations, search and rescue operations, and surveillance for criminal investigations.

"These aerial systems give us several advantages in those types of situations. Give us better decision making ability. Obviously, if you know what you're dealing with, the more you know about it without having to put men and women in uniform in the way of possible threats, then you make better decisions. Primarily, the mission is to save lives," Young said.

Deputies will get two to three months of training before the sheriff's office employs the drones.

Young said the cost will be covered by Limestone County Sheriff's Rodeo proceeds.

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