Butler County Sheriff's Office look to use drones for investigations

Butler County wants drones (VIDEO)

BUTLER COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - The Butler County Sheriff's Office are attempting to gain certification to operate drones, which would be used to get better images for traffic accidents and investigating crime scenes.

The sheriff's department bought a drone in December for about $1,200. It's been called, "AIR 3." Currently, there are two helicopters operating in a part time capacity for the sheriff's office.

Lt. Randy Lambert said the drone costs a lot less money than a pilot. Currently, he said pilots clock in at around $4,500 per hour, whereas a drone costs about $60 a year for the batteries.

The drones will not be used as a way to watch over people in Butler County, Lt. Lambert told FOX19 NOW.

The drones have to be in the line of sight of the officer using it. If approved by the FAA, Lambert hopes each shift will have at least one in the back of a patrol car.

Operating a drone does require flight training, which Lambert said most departments can't afford.

If approved, Butler County would be the only one in the area to have a drone.

The ACLU of Ohio said they agree with their counterparts in Kentucky.  They like the idea of drones as long as they can be regulated.

Both chapters want police to have to get a warrant from a judge if the drones are used in searches.

Kate Miller, of the KY ACLU said in a statement, "If you're going to do a search of someone's  home, someone' s property, or of someone, you need to be able to get a warrant and have that judicial oversight before you engage in any sort of search or surveillance."

Both chapters in KY and OH said they are working with legislators to get state guidelines into law.

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