Butler County Sheriff's Office to use drones

Posted at 1:11 PM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 19:27:19-04

HAMILTON, Ohio — The Butler County Sheriff’s Office is working to gain certification to operate drones, which can be used for evidence gathering and in searches.

The Journal-News reported the sheriff’s office will need to apply with the Federal Aviation Administration to become a Public Aircraft Operator for the $1,200 drone, according to Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser.

Lt. Randall Lambert said the drone will be an invaluable tool for the department.

“It has two cameras, we can take still phones and we can take movies of crime scenes if we need to,” he told commissioners Monday morning. “The quality of the film is very good … It’s not necessarily going to eliminate the helicopter, because it has its own uses. This will be a tool for aviation if we have something that doesn’t need a helicopter, or need to find someone or we have to collect (information about) say a fatality accident.”

He also noted the response time could be much quicker.

"With this, if we already have it in the vehicle with us, we can have it at the location we need. Let’s say a missing child, might be missing in a field -- we can deploy it from the box within minutes, have it up and start taking video of the area and see if we can locate the child," Lambert said. 

Because the county already flies helicopters and has pilots, Gmoser said it should be relatively easy to gain FAA approval. The application process should be complete in about two months.

The Journal-News is a media partner of WCPO.