Law enforcement are using drones to get a birds eye view

WTAP Daybreak- Drones
Published: Jan. 22, 2023 at 11:56 PM EST
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Local law enforcement are using new technology to get a new perspective on crime.

Drones are being used to get a better view of crime scenes and find missing individuals.

“The drone unit started off as just a hobby,” said Davis Powers.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office drone unit began after Special Deputy Davis Powers was called to assist at a crime scene.

“It started with, unfortunately, a homicide that happened up in New Matamoras. We used the drone to get footprints of the suspect in the case. We were able to see it from a different angle, and that’s where it started. It went from there to the sheriff’s office investing into a drone, and now we have two,” said Special Deputy Powers.

The Parkersburg Police Department’s drone unit started in a similar way with former Captain Keith Roberts, according to Chief Matthew Board.

“He’s very familiar with them. He was familiar with drones prior to us even acquiring one through the police department, which we’ve had for a couple of years. He was the perfect fit to do that,” said Chief Board.

Washington and Meigs County Sheriff’s Offices recently used their drones to locate missing individuals.

Powers says drones were used in their recent search for a missing person in Washington County.

“We were able to get on scene, get the drone up in the air. The sun hadn’t come out yet so fortunately our drone has thermal and has a great thermal system. We flew patterns around the residence and the surrounding areas and picked him up in a wooded area. Thankfully we were able to find the individual and sent deputies and EMS to the spot. He was able to get medical help right away,” said Special Deputy Powers.

Chief Board says there are other ways to use drones.

“The most typical scenario we use our drone is for documentation purposes in regard to a crime scene or a large area that we would have to document. We’ve used it multiple times for scenarios that are outside with a large landscape where we would want to get the entirety of someone’s property where a crime has happened where we can get an aerial view. Even a crash scene, to document the area in which the crash occurred, like an entire intersection,” said Chief Board.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office Drone Team also visit groups to show how the drones operate.

To set up a meeting with the drone team email Powers at