Drones used to survey tornado damage

Drones used to survey tornado damage


Drones are buzzing around everywhere in the United States with as many as 30,000 unmanned aircraft expected in use by 2020.  Law enforcement and military staff initially expressed safety concerns about the devices following the FAA's approval this year.

Now, military and law enforcement agencies across the country are finding the drones very beneficial in their day to day operations.

Lt. Jarrod Barr with the Russell County Sheriff's Office used the department's drone on Monday to get aerial footage of damaged homes in Fort Mitchell. Tuesday, Sheriff Heath Taylor showed News Leader 9's Roslyn Giles the crisp, clear images and video of the area.

"It hit the store and then it comes straight on down and you can see the damaged fence and this is the first house it hits right here," explained Taylor about what the drone captured.

Taylor said the drone brings a huge benefit to the department. They plan to share the data with the National Weather Service.

"We can see the damage, we can tell which way it was going, there's just lots of benefits from it... storms perspective, hurricane and ice that we can see with the drone," Taylor said. "We even used the drone as our camera."

Sheriff Taylor added they've flown the buzzing device as high as 600 feet in the sky to get video and pictures during surveillance tactics and it can also be helpful when trying to locate missing children.

"If a kid walks away, or you have a dementia patient who walks away, the elderly-- we can put the drone in the sky very quickly with a larger search area from the sky," explained Taylor.

When it comes to cost comparison, Taylor says there is none. The drone costs a one- time $1500 compared to $1500 every time the helicopter is put in the sky on crime fighting endeavors or to survey property damage.

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