NIXON — If you live in the Nixon area and happen to see a drone flying overhead, it’s because the Pct. 4 Constable’s office recently obtained one to help catch criminals on the run.
Law enforcement officials say the drone, a Dji Phantom 4 Pro Plus, will be utilized to track criminals, help locate stolen property and help find missing persons.
Deputy Constable Jerry Airola said his office purchased the drone on May 18, and that they and their mini-chopper have been “in training” learning how to use it over the last several days.
“We’ve been able to do so without crashing it!” Airola said.
The drone is capable of flying 4.7 miles, and can be flown up to over 400 feet. It features a 4K video recorder with a 22-megapixel camera. It also has an automatic built in GPS.
“It has an automatic return home built in,” Airola said. “So if something goes wrong with it, it will come back home to us, and it records both in the drone itself as well as the handset. So even if something was to happen to it, we’d still have a recording of what happened.”
Airola said when law enforcement is having difficulty finding someone hiding in a field, or if there is stolen property that needs to be recovered, the drone will be a big help.
“A lot of times if the property is behind a locked gate in a field somewhere, that’ll help. If you have someone reported missing, the drone can provide an aerial view while covering a large amount of space in a much shorter amount of time,” Airola said.
“It can circle this whole city and be back in five minutes. It’s just like having a helicopter, only a lot less expensive.”