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Marquette County Sheriff’s Office adds drone to search and rescue team

Drone has three cameras and will take flight in a few months
Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 5:17 PM EDT
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NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - A drone called A.R.T. (Aerial Rescue team) is the newest member of the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office’s search and rescue team.

Captain Steve Kangas is currently the primary pilot of the new $30,000 drone. On Tuesday, he took it out for a test flight to see how it would perform in rainy conditions and prepare it for future team members.

“This is our pilot program,” said Kangas. “We’re just starting, and we want to do things the right way. We’re looking at hopefully adding five or six members to the team.”

The drone has to stay within the pilot’s sight and fly 400 feet above the tallest structure in an area. Sheriff Greg Zyburt got a glimpse and says more training will happen for two months.

“We’re being helped by deputies from the Kent County Sheriffs in Grand Rapids, who have had a drone program for approximately five years,” Zyburt explained.

Zyburt says it will take time before the drone sees any action.

“There’s a lot to it, and we want to do it right,” he said. “We’re setting up policies and procedures. It’s not something you do overnight.”

The sheriff also says his office would be willing to lend A.R.T.’s services to other departments.

“We’re offering our drone to help them out if they get someone missing or if they need it,” Zyburt stated.

A.R.T.’s three cameras offer night vision and close up views.

“It’s what we call another tool in the toolbox,” Kangas said. “But, I think it will be significant, especially for Marquette County, its residents, and surrounding areas.”

The Marquette County Sheriff’s Office hopes other departments will follow in its footsteps and use drone technology for searches and rescues. Sheriff Zyburt says A.R.T. will take flight in the next few months.

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