Two Police helicopters used by the Hamilton County Police Department in Ohio will soon be retired. The police helicopters will be replaced by fifteen drones, including the DJI Matrice 30, equipped with specialist equipment.
“The drones are a fraction of the cost of a helicopter,” Hamilton County Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey told commissioners last week.
She explained why she chose to switch the two police helicopters for drones.
“Helicopters are, right now, they’re becoming flying dinosaurs,” she continued.
According to the sheriff, the choppers cost the county $3 million yearly. 15 drones will cost $300,000 with almost no yearly maintenance.
The financial motivation for this option extends beyond operating costs: One of Hamilton County’s helicopters requires around $300,000 in upkeep.
The other was acquired for $1.6 million roughly four years ago and has since increased in value, so they will be able to sell it for $2 million. They will profit from the transaction.
Drones are also nearly silent and will not aggravate tensions. They can be carried in police cruisers and stored in stations, allowing for speedier reactions and a lower risk of a catastrophic disaster.
“We’re reducing the liability to our officers; we’re reducing the liability to the public,” the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office’s Cpl. Matthew McGourty said.
Hamilton County’s pilot, who earns $100,000 per year, is retiring this week. The county intends to dispose of its helicopters.
DJI Matrice 30 as a police drone
The video shows the police department using DJI Matrice 30 drones. This is significant given that the Pentagon recently labeled DJI as a Chinese military organization.
Update 10/25/22: this article erroneously referred to the DJI M300. It is the DJI Matrice 30.
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