RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala.- While searching for 21-year-old Caleb Hanson, the Russell County Sheriff’s Office employed a popular technology to aid in their search: a drone. According to Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor, the drone has been used three or four times in missing person’s cases.
The drone has been a part of the Russell County Sheriff’s team for a little more than a year. Since its inception, the drone has been used in missing person’s cases, searching for stolen property and to view tornado damage.
Sheriff Taylor says the drone has a camera on it that can be controlled from the ground and the drone operator can connect a phone or tablet and view what the drone sees. Investigator Brent Hopkins is one of those who gets to use the drone. He says it is an honor to use the drone and amazing to have a clear view of what you’re looking for when using the drone. Sheriff Taylor also says, the Sheriff’s Office is more than willing to use whatever technique they can to find someone. “The area that you’re able to cover from the sky and see versus on the ground is vastly different,” Sheriff Taylor said. “I mean you certainly have a much better chance of seeing something that’s lost from the sky versus from the ground.”
Sheriff Taylor added the Sheriff’s Office stays out of Fort Benning and Mitchell airspace while using the drone. He also added that the drone has not been credited with finding a person yet, but it has the capability to do so.