Local law enforcement agencies competed Wednesday morning in a tactical drone operations event as part of the 2021 Georgia Police and Fire Games which are happening this week in Gainesville.
Sgt. Chris Jones with the Gainesville Police Department was involved with the organization of the event. Jones said the event was executed in two distinct stages at City Park in Gainesville.
"The first stage was agility and speed," Jones said. "We had a number of obstacles they had to do, which was all timed with some difficulty as far as popping balloons, chasing balloons that are flying away, things like that."
When the three competing drone teams moved into stage two, things became a lot more realistic through a hypothetical scenario.
"Second part of this is a scenario-based response," Jones said. "An officer does a traffic stop, gets in a foot chase, and then we lose radio contact."
The goal of stage two was to locate the officer, as well as the suspect in the scenario, and any associated evidence.
Three total teams competed, and the winners are as follows:
- Dan Franklin - Hall County Sheriff's Office
- Brandon Wiley - Forsyth County Sheriff's Office
- Mike Cooper - Hall County Sheriff's Office
The evident was sponsored by the Global School of Aeronautics. Gene Ballew, owner, and CEO of the school said the school has trained many law enforcement agencies in the area on tactical drone usage.
"We've trained Gainesville, Oakwood, Dawsonville, Forsyth," Ballew said. "We've trained most of them in this area."
Jones said in the field, drones have a variety of different applications. These uses included searching for missing people, searching for suspects and in the execution of a search warrant on a home.