The Vigo County EMA and Sheriff's Office announced its Unmanned Aerial Vehicle program became operational on Sunday, April 29.
The program has been in development for nearly six months and has included certifying 18 pilots, acquiring two FAA permits, the selection and purchase of equipment, and the logging of over 140 training flights.
The team consists of personnel from the emergency management agency, sheriff's office, 911, local firefighters, and volunteers with the EMA communications group. The three aircraft are equipped with both high-resolution and thermal imagery cameras.
The team is available to assist public safety agencies in Vigo County as well as surrounding counties in Indiana and Illinois in all aspects of public safety functions.
The team is also available to government entities to assist in such things as photography, surveying, inspections, and other government functions, which not only help the entity but also provide valuable flight time for pilots to remain proficient.
The team encourages civic groups to contact the sheriff's office or EMA to schedule a demonstration with the team so the public can learn more about this new technology and its value as a community resource.
Faculty and students with Indiana State University’s unmanned aerial systems program assisted with development and training and will continue to provide on-going assistance to the team.
For more information about the program, contact Lt. Brian Dehart with the Sheriff’s Office or Deputy Director JD Kesler of Vigo County Emergency Management.