SCSO could use drones to fight crime - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

SCSO could use drones to fight crime

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Drones are popping up all over the Mid-South, and now the Shelby County Commission is talking about funding some for the Shelby County Sheriff's Office. Drones are popping up all over the Mid-South, and now the Shelby County Commission is talking about funding some for the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.
SHELBY COUNTY, TN -

(WMC-TV) - County Commissioner Mike Ritz has asked everyone to revisit the idea of using drones for crime fighting.

Drones are popping up all over the Mid-South, and now the Shelby County Commission is talking about funding some for the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.

"The sheriff needs it, and I think we should support him to get it," said Ritz.

Ritz brought the idea back up to Sheriff Bill Oldham. Ritz' was opposed to it a few years ago.

"But since then I've done a lot of homework. I found that any one of us, anybody can buy a drone now and fly it. They've got drones now that will stay up for days at a time," said Ritz.

He says they will help Shelby County Law Enforcement during extensive searches, missing children cases, and barricade situations.

"Our concern for privacy of our citizens has kind of gone out the window. The FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] is gonna regulate these things, but they only do it on a complaint basis right now," said Ritz.

But the FAA is starting the conversation by testing drones across the country.

Wednesday the head of the FAA described a few concerns to lawmakers, such as mid-air collisions and pilot training.

Opposition in Shelby County has more to do with privacy. Although Shelby County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Chip Washington says they are meant for public safety.

"I don't now how near that future is, but I think one day down the road ... I think once you've established proper policy and procedure, the way to properly use those devices, you could see it in law enforcement agencies around the country, and I think you could probably see it here as well," said Washington.

At this time it is unclear what it will cost, or how many they would purchase. For right now it is simply a conversation though Sheriff Oldham is on board. The County Commission will have the final say.

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