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How Broome County drone program will aid in law enforcement, emergency services

TOWN OF DICKINSON (WBNG) — Broome County unveiled its latest tools to aid first responders Friday and they’ve already started taking to the skies.

The Broome County Sheriff’s Office along with the Broome County Office Of Emergency Services displayed their new drone program at their headquarters on Lt. Vanwinkle Drive.

The unmanned aerial vehicles as they’re technically known have a wide variety of uses, and law enforcement officials say they’re the technology of the future.

“They’ve been around for a long time, but now they’re evolving and once you start seeing the capabilities of them, you know it’s a matter of time before we need that capability,” said Lt. Ben Harting, who first worked with drones in the military back in the mid-2000s.

There are three pilots each in the sheriff’s office and emergency services, and together they share the six personal drones and two larger ones in their possession. The smaller ones are used for flying in confined areas, while the larger ones have extremely high-definition cameras and carry heavy loads.

Broome County Director of Emergency Services Michael Ponticello told 12 News he saw the capabilities of this technology firsthand when the train derailed in Deposit last August.

“The train derailment is a perfect example of you can see what’s going on before you put people in harm’s way,” Ponticello said.

County officials said they are taking extreme precautions to ensure no one’s privacy is violated by the drones.

Josh Rosenblatt

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