ATHENS, Ala. - New equipment comes with a new initiative for law enforcement, complete with controllers.
But it's not playtime, it's training.
"The Sheriff's Office partnered with Avion Solutions of Huntsville to begin implementation of a UAS, unmanned aerial system, commonly known as drones, program," explained LCSO spokesman Stephen Young.
It's the first week of preliminary training with three new drones, including two weather resistant units and one training unit, all paid for by the Sheriff's Rodeo.
"We spent little over $30,000 of our funds from the rodeo for the drones, paying for the training, paying Avion to make sure we're FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) compliant," said Sheriff Mike Blakely.
The majority of the training drone pilots are also manned aircraft pilots.
The new drones each have cameras that the sheriff says can be used for a number of emergency situations such as search and rescue, hostage negotiations, or getting some intelligence on a location before they issue a search warrant. some recon.
The sheriff even mentioned possibly helping the jail find an escaped inmate.
Each drone pilot has to complete this week's forty-hour training, then will have to take a certification test before they can operate drones for the agency.