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Rogers Police Turn To Drone For Additional Help In Crisis Situations

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ROGERS (KFSM) -- The Rogers Police Department now has a drone to use in emergency situations.

“This machine is going to be on standby for those critical and crisis situations where it's important for us to get airborne and a better view of the scenario or situation, so we can better manage it and get a positive outcome,” Cpt. Jarod Mason said.

Mason is the pilot for the drone and said they'll get it in the air for search and rescue missions, to survey weather damage and during risky situations for their SWAT team.

Police have already used the drone during the search for Rosemary and Carol Davis, who went missing in Siloam Springs.

“This tool that we have is not for surveillance, day to day surveillance. We just don't have the equipment, the battery powers to do that and it's not in our interest to do that,” Mason said.

In order to fly the drone, Mason has to file a notice to pilots with the flight service station to avoid collisions. Then Thirty minutes before flight, he notifies an air traffic controller in Fort Smith and Rogers.

“[The FAA] registered more [drones] last year than all of the private aircraft in the United States combined,” Richard Ham said.

Ham teaches a course about privacy concerns and certification of drones at the University of Arkansas.

"Whatever rules you would follow for local and state guidance, some states have different rules for how that is done, that's the same rules with a [drone],” he said.

The Rogers Police Department is planning to get technology that will allow the drone to read thermal imaging at night. They said North Little Rock is the only other police department in the state using drones.

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