Recently, the Monticello City Council approved the purchase of a drone for the Police Department. The drone was initially purchased with the intent to assist law enforcement officers with various on the job tasks.
City employees have found that the drone has multiple uses. City water towers need to be examined regularly and in the past, a city worker or contractor would have to climb the tower to perform the exam. All assessments can now be performed with the MPD drone. This decreases time and money spent on examinations and reduces the risk of injury to employees.
MPD received the drone in February of this year and according to Chief Jason Akers, the original intent for the drone came on multiple fronts.
“We had a shooting a couple of years back and the suspect fled to a wooded area,” Akers said. “The drone has thermal capabilities, and it could have been used to find the suspect. The drone also has speaker capabilities and so we could have located the suspect and given commands to surrender without having an officer or the suspect in danger. Also, during the ice storm we had last year, we had houses incapable of being reached until crews could get on site to remove trees from the road. The drone could hover over items blocking the road, go to the houses and use the speaker to talk to occupants inside and reassure or check on them and assist in prioritizing those in need. Drones are also used by fire departments to detect hot spots in large fires and better know where to concentrate their efforts.”
MPD Officer Shawn Curtis just received FAA licensing requirements and training for the drone.
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