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The Isanti County Sheriff’s Office now has a drone to utilize in different types of situations thanks to a donation through Dennis Frandsen and Frandsen Bank and Trust.
The drone was presented to the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office during a Nov. 16 presentation at Frandsen Bank and Trust in Braham.
Those at the presentation included Frandsen Bank and Trust Braham President Seth Zeltinger, Isanti County Sheriff Chris Caulk, Isanti County Sheriff Chief Deputy Lisa Lovering, Isanti County Attorney Jeff Edblad, Isanti County Commissioner Terry Turnquist, Braham Police Chief Eric Baumgart and CEO of Maverick Drone Systems Adam Shaw.
Shaw said more public safety departments are utilizing drones as part of their operations.
“It’s helping them get set up for search and rescue, or anything within their departments from the air, water and ground,” Shaw said. “So that’s what people come to Maverick for over the last six years. Globally people search us out for consulting and understanding how to use these aircrafts within this space.
“But as what’s happening in 2020, public safety is a big thing and to have situational awareness with things. Instead of calling a helicopter that might be very expensive, you can use your own drone to do that. Thank you for what you guys have done in the public safety sector. It’s really important to us and the company. We stand behind it 100%. So we are really happy to be partnering with you guys on this and providing Isanti County with what you guys need to do to get going,” Shaw said.
Shaw mentioned the city of Braham purchased a drone from Maverick Drone Systems to help with mosquito spraying.
Shaw said Maverick Drone Systems will help Isanti County get its drone program up and running any way it can.
“We understand it’s your first one, so our arms are open to all calls and conversations about how to use it, and there’s a lot more where this came from,” Shaw said. “So as you guys grow and develop over the years to come, we’d like to be your partner in understanding it, knowing it, and training folks and making sure whether it’s from air, the water or ground, we are able to help you with understanding these systems.”
Lovering said the sheriff’s office is very appreciative of the donated drone.
“We have been looking for a few years to start a drone program by looking for grant funding to pay for the drone but have been unsuccessful. So we are very thankful for this donation so we can have the drone as another tool. We received this drone as a donation from Frandsen Bank and Dennis Frandsen. He has donated eight (I believe it is eight) drones to law enforcement across the state,” Lovering said.
Lovering said the department plans to use the drone in cases of missing persons, including lost children or those suffering with dementia or Alzheimer’s. The department can also use the drone to assist them in searching for those that use the Project Lifesaver program to search for lost people.
“We can also use this to search for wanted persons who have fled from the scene of a crime; to reconstruct accident scenes that involved serious injury or was fatal or for use at a public event where there is a heightened risk to the safety of participants or bystanders, to conduct a threat assessment,” Lovering said.
Lovering said being a certified drone operator requires an individual to pass a Part 107 test administered by the FAA.
“We currently have one person certified to fly the drone,” Lovering said. “We will be adding six more deputies to be certified to fly so that we always have 24/7 coverage with a pilot on duty if we need to deploy the drone. They all will attend an eight-hour training for the test and a four-hour training for drone operations.”
Per state statute, in order to adopt an Isanti County Drone program, the county is required to hold a public hearing. The public hearing will be held during the Isanti County Board meeting at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 2.