Denton, MD- In a cooperative partnership between the Caroline County Department of Emergency Services and the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, the county is obtaining a powerful new tool in helping to keep the public safe. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), or “drones” as they are known colloquially, are gaining popularity nationwide for use by public safety agencies looking for a lower cost supplement to manned aircraft, such as helicopters, to be utilized for search and rescue, traffic accident reconstruction, large event security, disaster support, and more. “These tools help keep our deputies and the community safe, and the Sheriff’s Office is proud to be on the forefront of this technology,” said Sheriff Randy Bounds. “These UAVs allow our deputies to locate missing persons, those suspects who have fled on foot, and most importantly to resolve potentially dangerous situations safely and effectively.”
The Caroline County Public Safety UAS Program now has two new drones and five new, FAA certified, unmanned pilots thanks to funding received through the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP). The grant program provided the funding for the initial purchase of equipment, as well as allowed for the pilots to attend training and become FAA certified, an important milestone and requirement for professional UAS programs. “Our pilots spent many hours at home studying for their exams and attended remote as well as in-person training with instructors on their FAA Part 107 Pilot Certification and specialized public safety UAS operations training. They flew monitored daytime and nighttime operations with instructors with single as well as multiple aircraft in the air to learn the skills necessary for a safe, proficient, and professional operation,” said Division Chief Samuel Grant of DES, who acts as the program coordinator.