Richmond Co. Sheriff’s Office gets its first drone; Taxpayers don’t chip in

CSRA News

A new tool that allows the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office to see from a bird’s-eye-view in the works. A partner donated a drone to give deputies vision from above.

Sheriff Richard Roundtree called the drone “eyes for deputies.” Costing just under 10k dollars, it is not coming out of tax payers’ wallets. 

“…the potential to save lives not only the citizens of Richmond County but also the deputies,” Sheriff Richard Roundtree expressed.

He said it’s been in the works for years, but other priorities, like raising deputy’s salaries, have taken presidence. 

Sheriff Roundtree said all  thanks goes to the Associated Federal Credit Union… wanting to make our city and law enforcement safer. 

Just this week, a manhunt underway to find Frank Asuncion who was wanted for questioning in a recent murder: “The helicopter was great, having that resource from GSP, but to have an un-manned aircraft system, a drone, to be able to be deployed within minutes of arriving on the scene is huge.”

But it takes a lot of training and flying time to become FAA certified. Lt. Scott Redmon: The first deputy becoming a certified drone pilot.

The aircraft is the latest DJI Inspire drone produced. Lt. Redmon explained it is the most up-to-date of its type. That’s part of the reason he chose it for the sheriff’s office: “It has got a lot of good operating systems on it, collision avoidance systems on it.. above, below and 360 degrees.”

Accessories needed for operation: iPad for flight control, additional batteries and chargers, insurance  and a monitor for staff to see what is going on.

Now, this drone has no limits– it will be available to oversee not only SWAT operations and locating missing people or suspects, but it could also be the eyes over major events, like Masters and events at the Common. 

“We think this is going to be the start of something huge for Richmond County,” the Sheriff said. 

He explained after training, we can expect to see the drone up and operating in the next few months. 

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