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How law enforcement is using drones to save lives

Pennington County Sheriff's Office has a drone that is changing the game on how police officers can save lives…all from one wireless controller.
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 4:45 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) -Meet DJI Matrice 210 V2; One of the two devices used in the drone program as a joint venture between the Pennington County Sheriff’s office and the Rapid City Police Department in 20-19.

Lieutenant Dave Switzer with Pennington County Sheriff’s office says that both departments are using the two drones to help save lives, which includes finding those who are reported missing.

Switzer states “We use it for a wide variety of missions. Everything from lost persons to mapping crime scenes, traffic accidents, and evidence gathering. Looking for people who are hiding from us and getting a bird’s eye view of wildfires.”

On Monday, the drone’s infrared camera was used to detect hot spots in a fire at the Cactus Café and Bar in Wall. The aerial footage and heat detection allowed firefighters to adjust their water hoses to take out the fire more efficiently. Law enforcement says the drones can also detect heat signatures from people who are hiding from the law.

Switzer states “The Infrared camera is also used to find people that are hiding from us. A year ago, or so we found a person that was hiding from us under a deck at a house. An eye in the sky and getting a bird’s eye view, it helps save people and it helps, build cases for the court also.”

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