Pacific County Sheriff’s Office looking to expand uses for drone program

The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office has a drone program in place, and they say that expanding this would have numerous uses for the public.

According to a release from Sheriff Robin Souvenir, at the beginning of 2019, the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office received a small unmanned aerial system (UAS) that was donated to the office by a community member.  

That donation began the local drone program within the department. Funding from the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission Boating Program allowed the department to purchase a Splash UAS that allowed us to land in the water and the ability to drop life preserving vests to people that need help in the water.

In addition, the Sheriff’s Office also received funding from the State of Washington for drug task force operations that could provide for a larger UAS to be used when executing search warrants. 

“This device gives law enforcement the ability to have oversight of the search warrants execution and with this information makes these high risk operations safer for the deputies/officers and our communities.  The UAS information can be used for training purposes after the incidents to improve our responses in the future and again increasing our safety overall.”

 According to Souvenir, the UAS also has an infra-red camera that could be used for fire investigations to find hot spots and help determine the initial start location of the fire.  

“It can also map crime scenes for later reconstruction if necessary.  This saves time on higher profile cases that need detail reconstruction. “

 Souvenir also states that the UAS could be used in search and rescue missions and will be able to check areas much faster and help locate community members and visitors lost in the woods or in the ocean and rivers.  

“In 2020 alone, we had 37 missing person calls.  Not every situation is resolved by the use of the UAS and its use is governed by our office policy.”

 Souvenir ends the notice by saying the department already has policies in place for the use of the UAS and have personnel trained in its operation, including a program coordinator that oversees the operation.

“There are several law enforcement agencies in our State and others that use UAS.  These are one of the many tools we use to make Pacific County a safe place to work, live and play.”