Oregon looks to buy drone

Oregon Police Drones

This post originally appeared on http://www.uavexpertnews.com/oregon-looks-buy-drone/.

[Editor’s Note: The drones could be used during hostage incidents, fires and search and rescue efforts.]

Oregon police and fire officials could soon have the small unmanned aircraft, commonly called a drone, they have requested.

Police Chief Mike Navarre and other city officials again discussed plans to buy the drone last week during Oregon council safety committee meeting. Oregon, Toledo, and Lucas County officials have mulled jointly purchasing a drone for months, but Oregon officials are considering buying the city’s own drone as Toledo City Council has not yet authorized the purchase.

Chief Navarre signed a memorandum of understanding in March with Toledo Police Chief George Kral and Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp, intending to share the cost of a $75,000 drone for the three agencies to share.

Oregon officials reviewed other models and plan to purchase a $35,449 drone, pending council approval.

“After all the possibilities are realized, it’s going to be impossible to pass it around and share it,” the chief said.

The drone, a Matrice 100 quadcopter‎, would be built to military specifications, the chief said. The price would include a zoom lens, high-resolution camera, two batteries, carrying case, thermal camera, officer training, mapping software, and an iPad Mini to control the device.

Oregon City Councilman Tim Zale, chairman of the safety committee, said two or three models were demonstrated for city officials. The quality of the less-expensive drone was comparable with the $75,000 Lockheed Martin model the chief initially wanted to buy, Mr. Zale said.

The device could be used during situations such as barricade and hostage incidents, fires, and search and rescue efforts — especially in the water.

“Drones are not new technology, but [they] are new to us,” City Administrator Mike Beazley said. “It will make our community safer.”

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