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Drone will help law enforcement

Having access to the latest technology is important to those who are involved in law enforcement.

Finding the money to acquire that equipment, however, can sometimes be a challenge.

That’s why it was good to learn on Monday that the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and its special response team were able to purchase a drone and related equipment, thanks to a $5,500 donation from Ascent Resources-Utica.

It’s equipment the department will be able to put to good use, whether it is assisting in a tactical situation or aiding in the search for a missing person.

For example, use of infrared cameras on the drone will allow for detection of the heat signature of a human, making it easier to find a person who has fled a crime scene. It can broadcast images from as far away as six miles, transmit the GPS coordinates of its location, fly inside buildings, get right next to a window to allow authorities a look into a building and play a recorded message to anyone within earshot.

Included in the donation is training for two drone pilots, a television monitor that will allow an operator to watch what the drone is seeing and extra batteries, each of which can supply 27 minutes of power while in use.

The goal of the sheriff’s department is to have four licensed pilots — one for each shift — which will ensure aerial surveillance of an area is available before deputies or members of the response team arrive at the scene of an incident.

It all adds up to allowing the sheriff’s department to better utilize its resources while providing an added layer of safety. And, it’s technology that can be shared among area law enforcement agencies.

Ascent Resources is a key player in the region’s oil and gas industry, and has an impressive track record of making similar donations to fire and emergency medical departments as well as law enforcement agencies.

Thanks to their commitment to Jefferson County, area officials have been able to make an important addition to the tools they use to ensure the safety of area residents.

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