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Clay crimefighters get a view from above

Jacksonville Daily Record

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office has new eyes in the sky.

Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook says the county has bought three drones. Two will be used for patrol operations, while the third is assigned to the county’s Emergency Preparedness Unit.

Cook says the drones will help with search and rescue, active shooter incidents, disaster response and crime scene processing. 

Since they can be deployed immediately, their thermal-imaging cameras can find people who are lost in deep foliage or water.

The cost was $20,000 apiece.

State statutes spell out privacy and safety requirements for a Florida law enforcement agency to fly a drone, and Cook says Clay County’ is committed to following those guidelines and obtaining search warrants where required.

Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years as a radio, television and print reporter in the Jacksonville area, as well as years of broadcast work in the Northeast. You can reach Dan at, (904) 607-2770 or on Twitter at @scanlan_dan.