Oro Valley Police Department purchases small fleet of drones

One of the drones purchased by the Oro Valley Police Department. (Source: Tucson News Now)
One of the drones purchased by the Oro Valley Police Department. (Source: Tucson News Now)
Updated: Mar. 26, 2018 at 6:04 PM MST
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ORO VALLEY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There's a new eye in the sky over Oro Valley.

Local law enforcement have rolled out a drone program to look out for the community from above

Lt. John Teachout with Oro Valley Police Department told Tucson News Now, "We think this is really a great tool to help us deliver a better product to the community by greater safety in a really cost effective manner."

There are a number of uses for this program. The drones can help Oro Valley PD man big, open air events, in search and rescue operations, or crime scene remapping.

The thought of getting a small fleet of drones came about around the time of October's mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Teachout said, "We have to be nimble. We have to be flexible. We have to respond to the contemporary and emerging issues that our society is facing today."

The drones are nearly unique to the Oro Valley Police Department. Sahuarita is the only other agency in southern Arizona that has something similar.

Though the idea of privacy may come to mind for neighbors, the OVPD told us the drones won't be used to hover over neighborhoods, unless they are looking for someone who may have wandered off.

"This really is no different than manned aviation that's currently in the air in any town in the USA right now," said Teachout.

Those who live in the area, like Jon Goldbaum, said they're supportive.

"Anything that will help the police out is good for everybody," said Goldbaum.

The drones officially took flight earlier this month. It's a resource that can be especially useful during these upcoming summer months.

"In particular when we're dealing with inclement weather conditions. Obviously heat is of significant issue in southern Arizona," Teachout explained.

The drones cost around $6,000, paid for with seized assets.

So far the drone has only been used once.

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