Oklahoma sheriff’s office turning to drones to help in search and rescue operations

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CLEVELAND COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma sheriff’s office says it is turning to technology to help with search and rescue efforts.

The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office will now be using drones that are equipped with spotlights and forward-looking infrared cameras in search and rescue efforts.

“One of our core values is innovation,” said Cleveland County Sheriff Chris Amason. “This program gives us the ability to save lives when searching for potentially endangered persons as well as to search for fugitives who may be a threat to the public.”

The FLIR, or thermographic cameras, provide infrared radiation and night imaging.

“Drones are a tool that can be used to assist in searches in a wide variety of terrains and in limited-visibility situations,” Amason said. “We carefully selected a group of deputies to operate the drones. They have been trained and licensed in the appropriate and legal use of these systems.”

In addition to the infrared cameras, the drones are equipped with a public address system which allows deputies to speak to people in the vicinity of the drone.

“We will be able to talk to someone who may be lost or help de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation,” Amason said. “The capability to locate someone and communicate in the field under adverse situations will be an asset when minutes count and lives are on the line.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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