Sheriff’s Office Adds Drone To Force

(Left to right) Johnston County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Savage, Captain Chris Strickland and Lieutenant Ryan Benson display the new Matrice 210 Law Enforcement Unmanned Aircraft System Drone.

The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office recently purchased a Matrice 210 Law Enforcement Unmanned Aircraft System (drone). The unit is a complete, ready-to-deploy package, specifically configured for law enforcement use.

Captain Chris Strickland, Lieutenant Ryan Benson and Deputy Michael Savage recently attended an extensive one week training course in Salt Lake City, Utah on the operation of the $30,000 aircraft.  The training included flight operation proficiency, legalities, and maintenance of the UAS and its specific use in law enforcement.

The Matrice 210 is equipped with a FLIR thermal imaging camera for nighttime operations and a Zenmuse Z30 high resolution camera system.

Sheriff Steve Bizzell said it will be utilized for missing persons, search and rescue operations, documenting and processing crime scenes, and special tactics and response situations.

“As Sheriff, I will continue to be proactive in providing our deputies with advanced training, technology, and will acquire the most up to date equipment that is necessary for them to be effective and efficient in providing public safety for our citizens,” Sheriff Bizzell said.

No taxpayer money was used in the purchase of the equipment. Asset forfeiture funds seized from drug dealers was used to purchase the drone and pay for training.