The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office reached another milestone this week when it became the very first and only law enforcement agency in Texas to be accredited by the Texas Commission On Law Enforcement ( TCOLE ) to teach a class on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles ( UAV) of which law enforcement personnel can receive credits toward their required state training courses. Immediately on the heels of this approval by the state and passing all the state’s TCOLE requirements, this first class hosted training for four potential pilots who must now pass the FAA examination to obtain their Part 107 pilot’s license.
This trend in UAV’s being used in law enforcement is sweeping the nation and although the LCSO Aviation Unit has only been in full operation for two months, Deputy Mitchell has already assisted other law enforcement agencies and the Sheriff’s Office in flying missions that has surveyed and mapped fatal highway wreck scenes and scenes of other fatalities being investigated by the Sheriff’s Office all of which will probably find their way into a court setting at some point.
Sheriff Bobby Rader who is proud of this new UAV Aviation Unit and its future potential in law enforcement is quoted as saying, “… Learning new things may be expensive and time consuming. When the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office deputies started a discussion about unmanned aircraft vehicles my first question was, “how will it help?” My next question was “how much will it cost?”. When we got all the answers then we put a plan in action to start the program. A standard operating policy was written. Lots of studying was done and tests were taken. In order to expand the program a class would have to be given to instruct other future UAV pilots. Deputy Investigator Sean Mitchell volunteered to head up the program. He put in a lot of hours researching and putting together a class that was approved by TCOLE. The LCSO now has an approved program that other agencies may use. The students will not only learn the federal and state laws, they will also earn TCOLE credit when they attend….” (End Quote )
As the modern age of technology continues to improve and grow not only in the private sector but in the law enforcement profession as well, it is technology such as the UAV’s that can assist in search and rescue of lost children and adults, flying the UAV into dangerous contaminated areas where humans cannot enter to view how a situation might be more safely handled, charting crime scenes for court presentations and many other forms of service that can assist in making investigations more accurate at a saving of both manpower and financial outlay. The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office can now offer this one and only law enforcement TCOLE approved class to other agencies who might be looking into the possibility of training some of their own personnel for a future UAV program.