SARASOTA- The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office showcased their newest tool in helping search and rescue incidents.
“We can get into the air almost immediately and be able to check out locations of interest,” said SCSO Special Operations Bureau Commander, Captain Kevin McElyea.
Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office introduced its newest tool, drone technology. The agency adopted the Draganfly Commander, an unmanned supplement to their Air 1 helicopter.
“The helicopter does a great job at finding lost people. The camera on it is by far more superior than the camera on this. This is more used for something that we don’t have the weather that allows the aircraft to fly,” Pilot, Deputy Stephen Shull said.
The drone is capable of traveling a radius of 1 kilometer, with a battery life doubling the average drone model.
Captain McElyea said the device will be used for disaster response, “…post response assessment, tactical deployment, site assessment for large venues such at the 4th of July venues.”
Wednesday, SCSO posed a mock missing subject demonstration.
“Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office responds to a call for service involving a missing 12–year–old child, last seen wandering around the Benderson Park area,” Captain McElyea said.
Deputies from the SUAS Support Team stepped in with a two-man crew; a pilot and a navigator. As a possible subject was spotted, Captain McElyea said, “..direct our assets on the ground to move directly to that subject to identify.”
It was a safe return home for the child; a scenario making nearly two years of training for members of the unit worthwhile.
McElyea said, “We’re certainly excited about the device and the technology and being able to come to an operation with this scale and magnitude. It provides service to our community and I think the more assets we can get in this kind of a capacity, the better it is for the safety of our community.”