SC departments partner on UAVs
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the Columbia Police Department have launched the 'Aerial Intelligence and Response' program for surveillance, search and rescue, and SWAT operations
With the deployment of two small, remote-controlled helicopters, the Richland County (S.C.) Sheriff’s Department has teamed with the Columbia (S.C.) Police Department in an effort to enhance efforts in the area of intelligence gathering, surveillance, search and rescue, as well as special responses to critical incidents. The effort — dubbed “A.I.R.” or “Aerial Intelligence and Response” — will give these two police agencies a new edge in their fight against crime.
Both agencies will now be able to use the small UAVs to capture criminals, gather intelligence, and search for missing persons or suspects (among many other uses), according to information provided to PoliceOne by Capt. Chris Cowan in the Office of Public Information for Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
At a press event held yesterday, Richland County Sheriff Lott and members of the two participating agencies demonstrated the new equipment. Sheriff Lott emphasized that radio controlled technology has become more trustworthy, more reliable, less expensive, and allows for rapid deployment of an asset that will save time, money and lives. Lott added that the RC helicopter is very inexpensive and can be deployed very quickly — while more importantly, it can identify dangers in the community without putting human beings at risk.
From Hobbyist to Specialist
Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott, quoted in a local news article about yesterday’s event, said “This is an example of where jurisdictional boundaries are broken down for a criminal...Quite simply put, they can't run.”
The cost of each machine is estimated to be below $3,000 in initial outlay, and costs for maintenance and operation is minimal, especially when compared with the valuable tactical information obtained from this airborne asset.
Many Airborne Options
Despite efforts by the ACLU to condemn these machines in other cities as an invasion of privacy (see mention of this in the video below), most citizens — at least those who really give it some thought — quickly recognize the value of giving law enforcement this kind of intelligence capability without busting the department’s budget on a piloted helicopter, which is thousands of times more expensive, and brings into the mix various officer safety issues.
At yesterday’s event, Sheriff Lott stated that he will continue to search for innovative ways to fight crime in his community.
|Back to previous page|