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Ada County Sheriff's Office using drones

This equipment will be used during public safety emergencies like potential hostage or barricaded subject calls, where real-time information can help the department gather essential information. (Photo Courtesy Ada County Sheriff's Office)

The Ada County Sheriff's Office is getting ready to take to the skies. Leaders selected nine deputies to operate and fly drones.

They plan to use the technology to solve crimes and protect the public.

The Sheriff's Office wants to assure the public that the drones will only be used for limited purposes and will not violate privacy rights.

This equipment will be used during public safety emergencies like potential hostage or barricaded subject calls, where real-time information can help the department gather essential information.

ACSO says the drones may also be used to get aerial photos from vehicle crashes and crime scenes. They say it is more efficient and faster than the traditional route of asking for a fire truck ladder to get an aerial view.

The sheriff's office received help from Nampa Police Department’s unmanned aircraft during an incident in January to find a man who fired at a Kuna Police officer and then hid in a neighborhood for several hours to avoid arrest.

The ACSO’s unmanned aircraft system pilots used this equipment in official capacity for the first time in late September while investigating a home invasion shooting and house fire.

Deputies believed the suspect died in the fire but as a precaution used the new technology to search nearby farm fields.

For longer-term investigations, the rules are very specific and very limited. Idaho Code specifically requires law enforcement to obtain a search warrant from a judge before unmanned aircraft can be used to conduct surveillance on any person or property.

The ACSO says the nine pilots have spent months training and studying Idaho Code and the administrative staff has created a policy that lines up with state laws and addresses public concerns about UAS use.

The Ada County Sheriff's Office posted a full statement on their Facebook page.


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