Why flying robots may be the future for law enforcement - WSFX - FOX Wilmington, NC

Why flying robots may be the future for law enforcement

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – If the sheriff of Brunswick County has his way, flying robots may become part of the department's equipment.

Sheriff John Ingram is pushing lawmakers for the use of drones.

In a letter to the North Carolina General Assembly Legislative Research Committee, Ingram said he supports the use of unmanned aircrafts -- commonly known as drones.

Ingram believes they could help in search and rescue operations, hostage situations, and other emergencies, including patrol of area waterways.

In his letter, Ingram said his agency currently uses a helicopter to gain access to areas of the county that are difficult to reach, such as swamp land and wooded areas.

But, he said using that helicopter has limitations, including time and expenses.

Ingram said he expects to use drones in the same way as helicopters but the drones would deploy faster and be less expensive.

"I look at this as potential being able to save more lives in the future than with what we do now," said Ingram. "It's enhancing our capabilities and when we do that, it makes our response better and more effective."

One of the major concerns about this type of new technology is the potential to invade people's privacy.

Ingram was clear to point out that if this plan is approved, there will be rules and regulations in place that balance privacy interests and law enforcement needs.

Ingram also said that the sheriff's office would need approval from the state and county government before moving forward with any type of acquisition of a drone apparatus.

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