ST. ANTHONY — A thermal-imagining drone will soon be a high-tech tool for police officers and emergency respondents in the upper valley.
St. Anthony Police Chief Terry Harris tells EastIdahoNews.com that contacts made through actor Eric Estrada have made it possible for the police department to get the nearly $10,000 drone
St. Anthony Mayor Neils Thueson swore in “ChiPs” star Estrada as a reserve police officer in July. Estrada’s visit to Idaho highlighted the start of the new task force, whose focus is protecting and education children to prevent them from becoming the victims of crimes originating through the internet.
The drone, a DJI Inspire 1, will have a FLIR thermal imaging camera. With that and the DJI’s gimbal technology and live image transmission, the St. Anthony Police Department will become the second law enforcement agency in the state to have a drone with thermal imaging.
Canyon County was the first county in Idaho to use unnamed aerial equipment, starting the trend with a remote control helicopter that collected video and fed it back to its ground operator, according to the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office, which says Twin Falls is the first county in the state to use drone technology enhanced by thermal imagery.
The Idaho State Police also recently adopted a statewide drone program, focusing on collection of evidence at a crash investigations.
“The primary use will be search and rescue,” Harris told EastIdahoNews.com. “There are also plans to use it during fires to locate hot spots.”
Harris said his department is partnering with the Fremont County Sheriff’s office to train two employees each to operate the drone.
“We want the drone to be available to both departments at a moments notice, especial when minutes count,” Harris said. “The drone will also be available to other counties upon request.”
Harris anticipates the arrival of the drone within the next few weeks.