Drones Are Changing The Way Lives Are Saved

Sheriffs Office using drones for search and rescue

[Editor’s Note: Anoka County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Paul Lenzmeier shared that drones are game changing technology for first responders and emergency management.]

This post originally appeared on https://www.wday.com/news/minnesota/4124722-drones-are-changing-way-lives-are-saved.

The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office recently used a drone to find a lost hunter in the Carlos Avery State Wildlife Management Area.

DNR Conservation Officer Tony Salzer says the terrain can be rugged.

“It is field area and woods in the middle and wetland all kind of mixed together,” said Salzer

On Sept. 17, Officer Salzer helped rescue a hunter who used his cell phone to call 911 when he and his dog became lost.

“We searched three different places. He said he was in a swampy area,”  said Salzer.

He says the tide turned when the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office put a drone up.

“The drone was huge in eliminating time looking for this individual,” said Salzer.

Officer Salzer says while the drone helped a lot, the hunter that became lost did all the right things.  He had a safety plan.  He told his wife where he was going and when he would be back.  Plus, he had a fully-charged cell phone that allowed him to call for help.

Anoka County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Paul Lenzmeier operated the drone.  He says the rescue would have been much more difficult without the drone.

“Who knows where we would have been had we not been able to use this. How long that male would have been out in the swampy area,” said Lenzmeier.

Lenzmeier says the drone can fly up to a mile away at 35 miles an hour and 300 feet high.  It has GPS, and can automatically return to the exact place it took off from.

Anoka County has two drones, they cost $20,000 each.  The camera is the expensive part. Night vision technology lets them see in the dark.

Lenzmeier says drones are great tools to help find suspects or missing children.

“On a really clear night, when you get a little bit of cool temperature in the atmosphere, along with the heat from a body, they light up like a light bulb,” said Lenzmeier.

They’re portable and fast.  Lt. Lenzmeier says drones are game changing technology for first responders and emergency management.

There are different rules for law enforcement and government agencies. If you want to use a drone for personal use, you must register it with the FAA.


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