Sheriff’s Corner – Jan 23

With the advancement in technology, Sheriff Tracy Murphree implemented an Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) program in 2019. Lieutenant Robert Hamilton is over the program and currently has five FAA Part 107 certified UAV pilots. The training is a six-week course that goes over the laws and regulations and how to operate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), commonly referred to as drones.

How do UAVs benefit law enforcement?

UAV technology is a huge asset to our county as it can help monitor

  • Traffic collisions
  • Situational awareness
  • Surveillance of criminal activity
  • Fugitive apprehension
  • Natural disasters
  • Assessing hazardous areas
  • Crime scene documentation
  • Critical incidents
  • Search and rescue of vulnerable or missing persons

Each deployment of the UAV requires a pilot in command (PIC) and a Visual Observer (VO). The VO’s responsibility is to be the air traffic control for the PIC. The Denton County Sheriff’s office’s most recent deployment of the UAV was assisting Wise County with the search of Athena Strand. This technology significantly helped the investigation cover more ground and deal with the rough terrain more efficiently. The UAV is also beneficial to the Jail and law enforcement center by conducting security surveillance around the entire facility.

UAVs have become common in our society along with first responders, allowing officers, firefighters, and emergency management personnel to evaluate situations safely and more rapidly than ever before while being much more economical and obtainable than manned aircraft. Most departments could not afford to purchase and or maintain a helicopter or airplane. Now departments can have many of the same benefits for a small fraction of the cost.

Some citizens feel that the use of drones is an intrusion into their privacy. The Denton County Sherriff’s Office respects all citizens’ constitutional rights and right to privacy. UAS technology will be used in accordance with these rights and privileges and will only be used with judicial authority when required. As technology progresses, the Denton County Sheriff’s Office will continue to utilize these types of resources to create a safer environment for its citizens and employees while being fiscally responsible.

Don’t forget to download the Denton County Sheriff’s Office smartphone App. The App is designed to keep the citizens within Denton County safe by providing the latest updates and information from the Denton County Sheriff’s Office. Some of those features include an inmate search, general jail information, a map of sex offender locations, the top ten most wanted list, Sheriff’s Office contacts, the ability to submit a tip to Crime Stoppers, and current job openings with links to apply. The App also provides users with alerts and notifications on emergencies or events that may impact their area. Search Denton County Sheriff, TX, in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store to download this free App today.

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