Sheriff’s office goes high-tech with drone program

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By WVUA 23 News Reporter Gracie Fusco

Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office deputies will soon be quicker on their feet when it comes to searching for suspects or missing people.

After months of preparation, deputies are finally getting up close and personal with the new drones that will be placed in their vehicles.

Instead of calling in a helicopter when there’s an emergency, deputies will now be able to deploy a drone right from their patrol unit, said Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy.

“Instead of waiting 15 to 20 minutes to get that unit there, boom, they will immediately deploy them,” Abernathy said. “This will allow us to fly that drone right in and get immediate access to visibility for the suspect.”

The switch to drones is also easy on the wallet, he said.

“It’s absolutely going to save us tons of money,” Abernathy said. “Helicopters are very expensive. What we were going to spend in one year on this entire program is what it would have cost us yearly on a helicopter program.”

TCSO is still capable of calling in the Tuscaloosa Aviation Unit when it’s necessary, Abernathy said.

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