Rock County Sheriff's Office to launch drone program

Published: Apr. 20, 2018 at 3:59 PM CDT
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It's a device that will bring a new set of eyes to the Rock County Sheriff’s Office.

Captain Todd Christiansen said his department recently bought a pair of drones through money seized from past investigations.

"We are not going to use it to surveil civilians, bad guys,” said Capt. Christiansen.

Instead, investigators will use drones to survey natural disasters, find missing people with thermal imaging, in tactical situations and at traffic crash scenes.

"It will be used for the investigative part of it. We would put them up to get aerial video and photographs of the crash scene,” said Christiansen.

Right now, the department is working on getting a team of four pilots together to fly the drones.

"It's very interesting the different perspective you could get from up in the air then from the ground view. Just getting pictures from what the drivers are seeing are still going to be utilized but just to get that overall picture from 100 feet in the air or so,” said Christiansen.

A technology that's new to his department that will help save time, resources and manpower giving them a birds-eye view.

“If you could get a firetruck out there with a ladder. We did that with a homicide so we could get an overall view.Other than that we wouldn't get it,” said Christiansen.

The Sheriff's Office also purchased a smaller, indoor drone that will help in tactical situations. They say the current robot they use has some drawbacks, like going up stairs.

Capt. Christensen said after they select the pilots, they hope to start using the drones by the end of June.