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HIGH-TECH TOOL: Talladega County Sheriff’s Office purchases new drone with funds from donation

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TALLADEGA COUNTY -- The Talladega County Sheriff’s Office recently purchased a DJI Inspire 1 Drone with funds donated by Bob Green, whose son, Aaron, is a deputy for the county.

The new drone is valued at approximately $10,000.

“We are so thankful to Mr. Green and his generous donation,” Talladega County Sheriff Jimmy Kilgore said. “The drone will be able to be used in so many different ways. It’s going to help us a lot in the search for missing people. We get many cases of the elderly with Alzheimer's who have wandered off, and this will help us, hopefully, be able to locate them faster.”

The sheriff added the drone will also help on various chases, searches and to help aid with national disaster observation.

“This is just another tool in our arsenal in helping to serve the community,” Kilgore said.

The office purchased the drone last November and is in the process of receiving proper training and certifications before it can be used legally on duty.

“I’m getting pilot license from Auburn University’s aviation program,” Talladega County Investigator Jeremy Hock said. “I hope to be officially certified in May.”

Hock said the drone has a range of approximately 3 miles from its controlled location.

“It’s abilities are weather dependent, but the camera itself can remain focused in heavy winds, and it even lands directly back at its starting point,” he said.

Kilgore added the drone is state-of-the-art, with many other high-tech features.

“It also has a thermal lense, which is able to detect body heat. This will come in handy in searching for suspects or missing people in the dark,” Kilgore said. “You can hide from view, but you can’t hide your body heat.”

Kilgore said it is the office’s goal to be using the drone in its operations by early summer and to have two licensed pilots in the future.

For more information, call the Talladega County Sheriff’s Office at 256-761-2141.