Hennepin Co. sheriff's office adds drone to search and rescue fleet

- The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is using unmanned air carriers to help reduce risk and cost.

After a year of testing, and approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, Hennepin County has added a drone to its fleet.

"It's really a man power multiplier. We can deploy this pretty quickly and cover a lot of ground quickly,” said volunteer pilot and member of the special deputy program Eric Herman.

Sheriff Richard Stanek says the drone may have carried a purchase price of up to $7,000, but the one-time payment is better than the $600-$1,000 they pay per hour to use the State Patrol helicopter.

"If we were down here today using the helicopter at $600 to $700 an hour, for last night—what was three, four hours--and then today that's an eight-hour day,” he said. “You do the math.”

The Sheriff’s Office was using the drone along the Mississippi River Thursday for a body recovery.

The drones are operated by volunteers in the special deputy program. Out of 17 licensed pilots that operate the drones, five are full-time commercial pilots.

“This is the opportunity to bring someone home who's been lost. That's why I’ve been doing it,” said Herman, who assisted in the body recovery Thursday.

Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in – includes advertiser stories