No drone use in Stark CountyIt may be a bird. It may be a plane. But any unidentifiable objects in the skies over Stark County or Dickinson are not law enforcement drones.
By: Betsy Simon, The Dickinson Press
It may be a bird. It may be a plane. But any unidentifiable objects in the skies over Stark County or Dickinson are not law enforcement drones.
Stark County Sheriff Clarence Tuhy said he has never looked into the purchase of a drone, but said it isn’t likely to be worth the money it would cost to buy one, which can vary from several hundred dollars for a domestic device to millions of dollars for unmanned aircraft systems like those used by the military.
“If we got a grant to purchase a drone, I would think that there were better things we could spend that money on,” Tuhy said. “Any equipment that could help law enforcement is always good, but I would have to think about the use of drones. I would have to do some research on drones before I would even think about ever want to purchase one.”
Talk of a grant comes on the heels of an initiative announced by Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Jan. 16 to throw the state’s hat into the ring as a candidate to become one of six national test sites for unmanned aircraft systems.
“North Dakota has a long-standing history in UAS operations and development, ranging from military applications to offering the nation’s first UAS bachelor’s degree at the University of North Dakota,” Dalrymple said in a statement. “By leveraging our resources and expertise at the University of North Dakota, the Grand Forks Air Force Base, the North Dakota Air National Guard and at our growing cluster of high-tech businesses that support our UAS industry, we have a great deal to offer in establishing a North Dakota test site.”
While Stark County officers have never used drones, the devices are not new to law enforcement in North Dakota. In 2011, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office used a drone while searching private property for six missing cows.
Dickinson Police Department’s Capt. Joe Cianni said drone training is available for law enforcement, but it is happening more in the Fargo area.
“It might be a nice asset for the Southwest Tactical Team to use,” he said. “But for the city, it’s not really something that we would be able to utilize and make it worth spending that kind of money for.”