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Elkhart Police receiving donated drone

WSBT 22

The Elkhart Police Department will soon have new state-of-the-art technology to fight crime and investigate cases.

A local businessman has donated a $15,000 drone that will be used as their eye in the sky. Police say it will cover a lot of ground for them and save time in an emergency.

A number of area police agencies are now using drones in their day to day operations to get a bird’s-eye view of areas they are called to. Elkhart police will soon join them.

"And when you are talking 2017, there is a world of electronics and a massive amount of technology out there available. So if you are not moving forward, you are basically standing still. So this is something I have been looking at for quite a while," said Elkhart Police Capt. Bryan Moore.

He points out it can be used for variety of situations, whether looking for missing children or senior citizens, accident reconstruction, events and activities -- like the Jazz Festival, SWAT incidents, manhunts and other things. It also has night vision capabilities.

"This will come with a thermal camera on it, which gives us a great ability to see in the dark,” Moore said.

The department plans to have a pool of trained officers to use them, according to stringent policies and guidelines.

"We are extremely cognizant of people's rights. We are going to do a lot on training on it,” Moore said.

Moore says they will have a three to six month window to complete all of the training before putting the camera in use. A big plus is the drone can cover a great distance in a manner of minutes.

"It is huge for us. I mean we only have when so much manpower, we can only cover so much ground, but with this it all of a sudden puts some eyes in the sky for us,” Moore said.

In addition to donating the drone, a local businessman also donated a $15,000 ATV scout vehicle that can be used by the drone operator in the field.

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