WILLIAMSON COUNTY – The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday it is adding an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) that will be used for search and rescue situations.
Williamson County Sheriff Bennie Vick said the new UAS is equipped with spotlights, a public address system and forward looking infrared (thermal) cameras, which provide infrared radiation and night imaging. The new public address system will allow deputies to communicate with people on scene and help deescalate a potentially dangerous situation.
The sheriff said the capability to locate someone and communicate in the field under adverse situation will be “an asset when minutes count and lives are on the line.”
According to the sheriff, they carefully selected a group of deputies to operate the UAS who will be trained and licensed in the appropriate legal use of the systems and adhere to the Illinois Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act.
The UAS system will be used for search and rescue along with officer safety. The UAS system can go into areas and terrains officers can’t safely enter.
Additionally, the UAS system can show heat signatures and cover a large area in a few minutes.
The new system will go into service in the next couple of months, according to Vick.