The Austintown Police Department has a new drug enforcement tool. It’s a drone worth $16,000.
The drone was purchased about a month ago through a local grant and is top of the line – just a step below military grade.
Officer Ryan Reese went through extensive training to become a licensed remote pilot.
“What it has is the ability to get up in the air and give first responders, whether it be fire or the police department, the ability to find maybe a missing person or overdose victim,” Reese said.
Along with search and rescue missions, the drone is used for executing drug warrants and following moving vehicles.
The drone, named Falcon One, takes about 10 minutes to set up and is controlled remotely. It can take pictures from the air that can immediately be seen on Reese’s screen.
“Then, I am able to relay that information to other officers, whether it people searching for a juvenile, missing person or an active fire scene,” Reese said.
Falcon One can travel about four miles and 400 feet in the air. It weighs about 25 pounds and will fly for 40 to 50 minutes before needing to be charged.
“It files in all weather conditions. It has the ability to fly in the snow, in the rain. It is not just restricted to just summertime flying. It is year round,” Reese explained.
Right now, the Austintown Police Department has two licensed drone pilots.