DeSoto County Sheriffs set to receive new drones

DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — More eyes are coming to the skies over DeSoto County.

The Board of Supervisors just approved the purchase of four new drones for the sheriff’s department bringing the total number of drones to six.

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The Desoto County Sheriff’s Department said it currently has two deputies FAA trained and certified to fly drones. The department would like to have as many as eight.

County Supervisor Michael Lee is a former law enforcement officer. He said the plan is to assign drones to different parts of the county.

“With these drones they are mobile,” Lee said. “You can put them with a handler or pilots and have them in districts in your county. It’s kind of like a dog or K9 unit depending on the shift you gotta have a drone with you.”

According to the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department, drones are going to be used in situations like searching for missing persons.

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The sheriff’s department added that it will also use drones to track suspects trying to get away and to find hazards in the field for first responders.

The increase in drone use by law enforcement around the country has raised privacy concerns.

But both the sheriff’s department and board of supervisors said that will not be the case.

“Well, these handlers and these pilots aren’t trained to invade anyone’s privacy,” Lee said. “If it was an individual’s personal drone, I could see where that could be.”

The sheriff’s department said the drones are being ordered from a company in Memphis and will be a smaller more, high-tech drone.

“You are seeing the future and technology advance, and this is just new technology that is very important that we have them,” Lee said.

The price tag for that new technology is $26,000.