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Brunswick County Sheriff supports law enforcement use of drones

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The use of unmanned drones has raised privacy and safety concerns across the country. But the controversial aircraft could also be a useful tool for law enforcement one a local sheriff would like state lawmakers to consider.

“It is much quicker than a helicopter or plane. much quicker,” Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram said. “I mean, it can basically be carried around in a vehicle and launched within minutes.”

The portability, the speed and the cost are all reasons why Ingram favors law enforcement agencies’ use of drones.

“It’s just technology, but we have to be mindful how we use that technology and how it will affect our citizens and society,” Ingram said.

Some people are concerned about the thought of a drone flying around.

“I would just want to know exactly the restrictions are and what things are they are able to investigate,” said Sara Willis, who is concerned about drone use.

In a statement the Federal Aviation Administration says there are about 80 law enforcement agencies operating unmanned aircrafts. The FAA says the operator must fly the device within the line of sight no more than 400 feet off the ground.

“Man force is not getting enough done,” said Richard Warren, who supports drone use. “So with the drones, that might be more helpful to law enforcement in solving crimes.”

For agencies like the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, which only has one helicopter pilot, Ingram says having drone capabilities would be beneficial.

“You could be on scene with something like this, immediately deploy it, and start initiating the search,” he said.

Ingram says this is not something that is going to happen any time soon. These are just the beginning stages of planning for the future.

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