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Sheriff looks to purchase drone for dept.

The leader of the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office is interested in purchasing a drone.

Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag said the department plans on buying the drone either this year or in 2017.

“We’ve had quite a few situations in the last year alone, where if we would have had a drone it would have been a game-changer,” Freitag said.

Kurt Freitag

Kurt Freitag

Freitag cited searches that took place last year in London and Twin Lakes.

According to Freitag, a drone could have been used to scan above trees to assist those who searched.

“A drone would be a fantastic tool to have,” he said.

Freitag said the department is looking at purchasing a drone that is approximately a foot and a half long and a foot and a half wide. He said the drone would have many features and capabilities, including that it can be flown in all weather. It would feature two cameras, including an infrared and a day-use camera. The drone would be battery-powered and have a half-hour flight time.

Freitag said the drone would be able to easily fly at night, and the altitude and direction of the flight of the drone would be known.

He said the drone would serve multiple purposes, including:

• Search warrants

• Disaster surveillance: Freitag said the drone can cover a lot of ground in a half-hour flight time. It could cover tornado damage or other disasters. The drone could fly over and survey an incident without having people going up there.

• Pursuits: Freitag said there have been many cases where criminals have tried escaping law enforcement, especially at night. He said the drone’s infrared technology could help with apprehension.

• Assisting other county agencies: The drone could assist other county departments. Freitag cited a possible situation where the drone could assist the assessor’s office in surveying a large piece of property.

Freitag said the drone is expected to cost $20,000, and is a necessity.

“We just have too many uses to not have one,” he said.