Up, up and away with the EC Sheriff’s Office

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — An Unmanned Aircraft Systems drone demonstration was recently conducted at the Essex County Emergency Management Headquarters in West Orange for the January meeting of the county Chiefs of Police Association. The exhibition was presented by officers from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, where the technology is used in search and rescue operations.

Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said that the aircraft system technology would be a key step in enhancing public safety and law enforcement in Essex County in the 21st century.

“These drone systems may be highly beneficial for law enforcement purposes,” Fontoura said in a press release. “Their ability to carry out search and rescue operations, crime scene analysis, and special operations will continue to allow us to keep the residents of our county safe no matter what the circumstances.”

Typically, police UAS systems are fitted with optical zoom or thermal cameras. They are an affordable alternative to helicopter or airplane support, they can be used to monitor crowds for threat protection and they may be employed for advance mapping of an event at a critical infrastructure site. Video taken by UAS systems gives investigators another angle they may have overlooked. UAS systems are lightweight and average flight time is 30 minutes per battery.

“Based upon what we’ve seen today, UAS systems appear to be very beneficial to law enforcement. They can be used in places where it is too high to climb and they can be used in situations that may prove to be too dangerous to police officers. UAS could be utilized if a hiker gets lost, in water rescue and search operations or in traffic accident reconstructions,” said North Caldwell Police Chief Mark Deuer, president of the Essex Chiefs Association.

The sheriff’s office and the municipal police departments will individually consider if UAS systems are appropriate and cost-effective for their respective departments.

Photos Courtesy of Essex County Sheriff’s Office