Law enforcement officials in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania have been using a drone for the last three months, before announcing their new crime-fighting tool and say that it has taken public safety to a new level. Not only has the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) been used to fight crime, it has also helped in locating missing persons.
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According to Fox43, the new drone has helped law enforcement agencies in 13 investigations. The unmanned aircraft also assisted in the search for Mary Bredbenner and her 3-year-old daughter Madelyn Binkley after their boat capsized near the Dock Street Dam.
A $16,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and a $5,000 grant from the National Rifle Association were used to purchase the commercial drone, additional GPS and cameras, FAA pilot training and insurance. The drone has not only saved the department money compared to using a police helicopter, but it has also provided additional safety for law enforcement officers. Don Trovy, drone pilot and Dauphin County Probation Officer said:
“We’re able to put up a drone within a matter of 20 minutes, where we would be waiting for a state police helicopter from Reading. A typical state police helicopter may cost about $3,000 just to fly, with us we’re putting it [drone] up for just man hours.”
Just like any other commercial drone pilot, the Dauphin County law enforcement officials need to follow the FAA regulations as well, although reportedly they do have a waiver to fly at night.
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