Last month, the Wood County Sheriff’s Office purchased a DJI Matrice M210 Drone to add to its inventory of equipment. The drone will be used for search and rescue missions, assist the Special Response Team with aerial surveillance, and aid in emergency or non-emergency situations involving Wood County citizens.
The drone cost about $20,000, Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said. Helping with the purchase was a $9,000 donation from Michael McAlear, who was a friend of the sheriff’s and a special deputy. He died in June.
The sheriff’s office is currently flying the drone under the FAA Part 107. Currently, the sheriff and three deputies have their airmen certificates with a UAS rating.
In the short time the sheriff’s office has had the drone, it has been used twice. It was used to assist in locating 52 head of cattle in Center Township. And it was used to assist Fostoria Police Department with a suspect who had fled on foot. Once deployed, the drone helped the suspect be quickly apprehended.
Currently, the drone has the capability to run a single or dual mount camera system, with one of the cameras being a FLIR camera.