Release the drone! Oregon PD and FD deploy new tool

Oregon Police and Fire deploy new drone (WNWO/Marcus Espinoza)

It's not a bird, it's not quite a plane, but it can soar high above the ground and it's the next great tool for the Oregon Police and Fire Departments.

The City of Oregon recently approved the purchase and use of a new professional drone for their emergency service departments.

Both the Oregon Police and Oregon Fire Departments contributed from their respective budgets to help pay for the device.

The new tool is an asset in the air unlike any they've had before.

“We can get it out of the car and have it up in the air within 5-10 minutes...we can get it out there faster than we can get a rescue boat out and at least try to find the victim and let them know we’re coming," said Sgt. Jason Druckenmiller, Oregon Police Department.

The drone is outfitted with numerous technological abilities including a guidance system that allows them to avoid flying into objects that come within eight feet of the drone. It's also equipped with a radiometric thermal camera that allows them to see heat signatures live on the remote that controls the device.

Sgt. Druckenmiller is one of the pilots and command officers of the drone program.

Earlier this month the Oregon Police and Fire Departments participated in an "Ice or no Ice Rescue Drill" in which they simulated a situation in which they could deploy the drone in.

"We (were able to) see what kind of heat signature we can get off of a real person in cold water to see how hard it would be or easy it would be to locate somebody if we had a boater capsized or somebody who fell through the ice to try to be able to locate them with the aircraft," said Sgt. Druckenmiller.

Assistant Fire Chief Mark Mullins believes it's the departments responsibility to keep updated with technology and use it to their advantage.

“I think anytime in the fire service or police service, technology is always going to be changing and ever changing and it’s ever fluid…you have to be able to adapt to that change and pick up that technology and use it and put it in your application," said Chief Mullins.

Both departments said they're extremely happy with the device and they look forward to using it in the future.

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