Grant County Sheriff's Office UAS program proving successful

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In Washington state, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office UAS program will soon expand to include two more UAS that are equipped with FLIR thermal cameras.

The program currently has two UAS, which have been used for a variety of tasks including search and rescue operations, as well as collision investigations.

“We have the capability at night time or even during the day, if somebody’s lost or takes off and runs on us, we will have the ability to find the heat imagery from the person, whether they’re lost or hiding out in a field,” says Chief Deputy Darrik Gregg, who oversees the UAS program, via iFiber One News.

“That’s going to eliminate us going out into the field looking for someone that’s wanted. It’ll give us a heads-up of where they’re at and we can direct people from the air on the ground to where the subject may be hiding. As long as there’s heat coming from that person, we’ll be able to locate them and cover a lot more land than we would on foot.”

Aside from using the technology for search and rescue operations, the sheriff’s office has also successfully used the UAS to reconstruct post-collision scenes and criminal investigation scenes.

“The benefit to having the UAS is that some of the areas we can’t get to, whether its water or the terrain, we can cover a lot more ground using a UAS up in the air and it’s a lot safer for searchers and fire/EMS,” Gregg explains.

Hoping to follow the Grant County Sheriff’s Office path, the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office is starting a UAS program of its own.

Deputies from the Grant County Sheriff’s Office recently trained with the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office. Training consisted of basic maneuvers, flight testing other UAS models, and a search and rescue scenario at Neva Lake where deputies had to use a UAS to locate a child’s doll hidden in the countryside.

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