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Florida Sheriff's Office To Use Drones In Emergency Rescues

Washington State House Republicans
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A sheriff's agency in South Florida is planning to use drones in emergency-response efforts.

Officials recently approved a $1 million pilot program for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. The drones will primarily be used in search-and-rescue missions in the water, in drug and human trafficking cases and to assist in cases when lives are in imminent danger.

The Palm Beach Post reports police and fire officials in Palm Beach Gardens also recently started using drones to find missing persons, catch fleeing criminals and respond to hazardous-material spills. The drones also may be used to assess storm damage and monitor extreme traffic conditions.

Police Chief Stephen Stepp said the drones will not be used for widespread surveillance.

State law restricts prohibits government agencies from using drones to conduct surveillance work.