INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Conservation Officers have added small unmanned aircraft systems to their search and rescue capabilities. The DNR Law Enforcement Division is the first state emergency response agency to receive official endorsement to utilize these devices for the purpose of search and rescue operations. District 1, with headquarters at Lake Wawasee, Syracuse, has a certified pilot of the SUAS machines.
District 1 includes St. Joseph, Elkhart, Marshall, Kosciusko, Fulton, Miami and Wabash counties.
“The SUAS machines will greatly enhance our ability to bring quick resolve in finding lost children, hikers, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts and injured people,” said Capt. Keith Dinn, support services assistant commander, who resides in District 1. “The training and expertise our certified pilots have received gives me confidence that our officers and other emergency responding agencies will have a much higher rate of success in locating citizens in need with a much quicker response time.”
Currently, five Indiana Conservation Officers have become certified pilots of the SUAS machines and will be prepared for statewide response. The DNR Law Enforcement Division has two SUAS units with future goals of adding more to the fleet.
Along with the ability to locate lost citizens, the SUAS will map out the obstacles for the emergency response personnel and provide knowledge of dangers before encountering the obstacle.
“I could not be more proud of our agency as we make this innovative and futuristic step forward to enhance our search and rescue response capabilities to reach our citizens in need,” stated Danny L. East, DNR Law Enforcement Director.