Drone (File photo)

OCONEE COUNTY, S.C. (FOX CAROLINA) -- The Oconee County Sheriff's Office is announcing the arrival of new unmanned aerial search and rescue technology. 

The purchase of this system will be used in conjunction with our helicopter for law enforcement and first responder events such as; search and rescue missions (ex. lost hikers), locating the elderly as a part of Project Life Saver, assistance with drownings, and to locate potentially dangerous fleeing suspects.

 Unmanned Aerial Systems bring added capabilities to certain missions, that helicopters do not; they take less time to deploy and can help find subjects that are located in areas where an extended aerial view may be limited. 

The drones are equipped with thermal imaging capabilities as well, the OCSO says. 

“We are constantly looking for technology to better help us protect and serve our citizens. We continue to be advocates for community oriented policing but we must also take advantage of any technology that increases our efficiency and effectiveness. This increases the probability of finding missing persons much quicker as well as locating a potentially dangerous suspect that could harm our community” according to Sheriff Crenshaw.

The cost for this equipment was approximately $20,000 with the attached FLIR and camera systems. 85%of the funding came from reimbursement for the Sheriff’s Office assistance with past hurricanes on the coast. UAS’s are regulated by the FAA and Sheriff’s Office personnel have been certified through the FAA part 107 to fly it in accordance with the current regulations.    

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