Wood County (OnFocus) -The Wood County Sheriff’s Department first starting using drones about five years ago, beginning with four drone operators. Today, due to Part 107 licensing requirements being implemented, Patrol Lieutenant Scott Saeger is the only drone operator with the department.
“We are hoping for additional Part 107 operators in the near future,” said Saeger. “I have been the coordinator for our department drone program since its origination 5 years ago. I currently am Part 107 certified and also own a drone myself.”
Saeger uses his personal drone recreationally for photo and video purposes, but also trains often with the department drone to keep skills proficient and ensure the drone is in a serviceable condition that allows it to be utilized at a moment’s notice.
“Drones can be helpful in numerous situations, including but not limited to, search and rescue of persons, tactical operations, chemical spills, fire scenes, wildland fires, traffic crashes, crime scenes, and boat, snowmobile and ATV crashes to name a few,” he said. “Our drone has an onboard color camera along with a FLIR thermal imaging camera. Our department has utilized our drone for searching for people on several occasions.”
Saeger said the department is always looking to make the community a safer place and prevent people from harm’s way, and a drone is another tool to allow them to help provide that service.
“We are in the process of getting involved more with scene mapping, such as traffic, incident and crime scene mapping,” he said. “We also are checking into having the ability to forward live wireless video feeds to users such as command staff, tactical operators, search and rescue personnel, other agencies, etc. This would allow us to have current up to date information of what the drone is viewing real time.”
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