Daytona Beach Police Department partners with Embry-Riddle for new drone program

Five-officer unit team has been training for several months

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - On Thursday, the Daytona Beach Police Department unveiled its new drone program in partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

The five-officer unit team, consisting of one sergeant and four personnel members, has been training for several months.

“This is the future, ” Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri said. “It’s great technology that’s going to save lives.”

 "This stuff here is going to save people's lives," said Chief Craig Capri.

Two FAA certified pilots will soon be joining the Daytona Beach Police Department.

"This is the future of law enforcement," said Chief Capri.

The department, along with Embry Riddle University, unveiled two drones on Thursday morning, as part of a new aviation program.

"There is some high risk with this. Our job is to educate and mitigate that risk and fly safely and to be here for the community," Assistant Professor Anthony Galante of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical  University said..

A sergeant and four officers will be licensed and trained to handle the drones for search and rescue missions, natural disasters and fires. The police chief also said the drones will help find missing persons, including those like Navy veteran Harold Cantrell, whose body was found in a backyard in July.

"The big thing to me is the uptick in the missing persons that we had with Alzheimer's and dementia that are getting out of these nursing homes. We need some equipment, another tool that we can use to find these people," Chief Capri said.

And rest assured, the extra eyes in the sky will not be recording its every move.

"The only thing we would record are crime scene pictures and things of that nature where we have the right and authority to take that picture at that time," said Galante.

It's still too early to tell how much the drones will cost, but Chief Capri said you can't put a price tag on a human life.

"Anything that we can get to protect our citizens and our visitors to keep them safe, we're going to do," he said.

The police department hopes to roll out the drones by the end of the year.

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