Sheriff’s Office adds 2 drones |

Sheriff’s Office adds 2 drones

Staff Reports

There have been a few instances where sheriff’s deputies have found a drone both useful and appropriate.

In May 2018, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an armed individual who was near Painted Rock in the Johnson Lane area at around 9:30 p.m.

“Due to the rural nature of the environment, the drone was deployed to assist law enforcement in locating the individual,” Sgt. Bernadtte Smith said. “The drone was able to locate the subject and keep the person under observation while a crisis negotiator spoke to the person. The situation was able to be resolved by the person leaving the weapons behind and coming out and was transported to a mental health facility to obtain needed assistance. A peaceful disposition without harm to those involved is law enforcement’s goal to these types of incidents.”

The sheriff’s office has purchased two drones with the assistance of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Advisory Council.

Smith said drone use is becoming more popular in law enforcement, firefighting, border patrol, in military operations, search & rescue, and disaster relief.

“We use the drones to help people, for public safety, not for criminal surveillance,” said Sheriff Ron Pierini. “The mission would be to locate a missing child, or an armed suspect.”

There are currently 347 various government agencies using drones, an increase of 518 percent in drone use in the last 24 months, she said.

“Use of unmanned aircraft systems keeps officers out of harm’s way and covers more ground quickly,” Smith said. “They can go to a place where peace officers cannot. The place may be too high to climb, or too dangerous to be.”

“A drone is another method to capture information and utilize it for public safety,” she said.