Bertie Sheriff launches ‘eye in the sky’

Published 4:56 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

WINDSOR – Law enforcement agencies across the nation use a wide assortment of resources to solve crimes and protect those they serve.

The Bertie Sheriff’s Office is no exception to that rule.

Sheriff Tyrone Ruffin says that his agency will deploy the use of drones to assist his deputies.

“I’m excited about this new tool because it will bring new capabilities to the Sheriff’s office and enhance public safety for our citizens and officers,” Ruffin said, adding that the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office has two drones.

Ruffin said BCSO Investigator Brandon Turner has completed specialized training to safely and properly operate the drones. That training was held at Martin Community College. It consisted of completing a pilot’s course and testing through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Investigator Brandon Turner of the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office has completed his training to operate a drone that the agency will use as a tool to combat crime and serve the local citizens. Contributed Photo

“In the very near future, we will have another member of our staff who will be trained and licensed to fly the drone,” Ruffin said.

“This tool is a great resource to our county and community because deputies sometimes respond to calls in which time is of the essence,” said Ruffin, citing examples such searching for missing people, water rescues, and even during events involving an active shooter. “By having these very quick response drones available to the deputies on the street, we can turn what would’ve been an hour response time into just a few minutes. We can use the drone to take a broader view of what’s on the ground which will assist in determining if we need to deploy additional resources.”

Ruffin said he recognized the importance of technology and wants his agency to “take advantage of any and all technology that could benefit the citizens in how we fulfill the mission of the Sheriff’s Office.”

“I’m excited about this program, because it’s another resource to our county and also creates another resource to other counties,” Ruffin added. “One of the best features I like about the drone is it has a thermal camera, or forward looking infrared (FLIR), which enhances the ability to detect potential items of interest at night.

“As the Sheriff of Bertie County, I will continue to identify and implement tools and resources that will aid the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office staff to effectively protect and serve the citizens,” Ruffin concluded.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal