Blount Co. officials say new $24k drone investment will keep the community safer

Blount Co. drone

Blount County officials say their new drone tech is the only one of its kind in the state of Alabama.

"The neat thing about this UAV is it has the ability to have two separate cameras on it, and we're able to see both cameras at the same time. One's a thirty times zoom camera, so we're able to see off into the distance a long way. Also, we have an infrared imager that gives us the ability to check for any kind of heat signature," said Blount Co. 911 Director Caleb Branch.

It's something Blount County Operations Commander Tim Kent says will be an asset for first responders.

"It's just amazing what this will do," said Kent.

Heat signatures will help track people lost in the woods, eliminating the need for first responders to trek through treacherous terrain.

But Kent says that's not all.

They can use it in tactical and high risk situations.

For example: if someone is being held hostage, they can zoom in to the situation from about 3/4 of a mile away.

"If it will keep a first responder out of harm's way, it's worth every penny we spent," said Kent.

That's a lot of pennies; the drone and cameras cost about $24 thousand total.

Blount County Commission Chairman Judge Chris Green says many parties across the county pitched in.

"[We're] the first county in the state to have a piece of equipment with this capability; we sure are proud," said Judge Green.

"I think it's going to make Blount County and the surrounding communities a lot safer, I really do," said Kent.

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