The DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department is seeking to expand its arsenal of drones for their ongoing public safety efforts.
A purchase order was presented to the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday during their first meeting of July. The department sought the purchase of four drones from Memphis based Airworks.
“The DCSD has used drones for nearly 5 years,” according to officials with the department. “The county EMA director trained a few deputies through Homeland Security. Policy was developed and those deputies got their drones license through the FAA (107 certificate).”
Only 107 certificate certified pilots are allowed to pilot the drones.
“At the DCSD, we currently have 2 certified deputies,” said officials. “The DCSD would like to eventually have eight total certified deputies.”
Each drone is priced approximately $6,500. The board of supervisors approved the purchase of four drones, at a total cost of $26,000.
Drones are strictly used for public safety, such as searching for lost or missing persons, fleeing suspects, accident reconstruction, surveying terrain for different missions, or notifying first responders of hazards in the field.
“Drones allow us to cover a lot of ground quickly and give us a much wider vantage point than if we were restricted to the ground,” officials said.
The department also requested purchase of Deterra MP Drug Disposal Bags from county supervisors through a state grant.
“The drug disposal bags were paid for by the OD2A grant (Opioid Data To Action), and will be handed out to the public at public events the DCSD attends. The bags render prescription pills inert (inactive) as soon they are placed in the solution that the bag contains,” officials said.
The total cost is $35,000 for 50 cases. There are 200 bags in each case.