Thanks to an anonymous donation, the Albertville police and fire departments have each received a new drone.
Mayor Tracy Honea and councilman Ben McGowan presented the drones to Fire Chief Brad Hix and Assistant Police Chief Butch Cartee during the last council meeting Monday evening.
“You can put them to good use,” McGowan said to Hix and Cartee. “It’s a step forward for the city, and it will enable and hopefully save lives as you go forward.”
McGowan said he was looking into purchasing one drone for the departments to share when an anonymous donor stepped in.
The drones are DJI DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise dual models equipped with high-definition, 12-megapixel visual camera as well as a thermal imaging camera.
“The uses [of the drones] are endless,” McGowan told The Reporter.
Being able to view a situation or location from the air has many advantages he said.
Both departments will be about to get a better vantage point of an accident or fire without having to deploy extra units and potentially putting others in harms way. McGowan said the drones, particularly its thermal camera could help police find a missing person much faster than through other means as their heat signature would stand out among the trees or even in-side of a building.
Before receiving one for the department, Cartee said drones they’ve borrowed from other agencies had already come in handy during recent parades and downtown events.
Additionally, the fire department will now have the ability to examine fires or damaged structures from above and find hot spots with the camera to determine where they need to focus their efforts.
McGowan said the drones are also capable of having a floodlight and loudspeaker attached to them to aid in nighttime searches and events.
“[The drones] would enable both police and fire to — in the rescue sense and the capture sense — minimize exposure.”
With this new technology the departments will have to choose certain personnel to undergo special training to be able to pilot the drones.