Category Archives: SAR

Drone Demonstration Conducted In West Orange

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An Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) drone demonstration was recently conducted at the Essex County Emergency Management Headquarters for the January meeting of the county Chiefs of Police Association. The exhibition was presented by officers from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office where the technology is used in search and rescue operations.

Sheriff Fontoura stated that the aircraft system technology would be a key step at enhancing public safety and law enforcement in Essex County in the 21st century.

“These drone systems may be highly beneficial for law enforcement purposes,” Sheriff Fontoura said. “Their ability to carry out search and recuse operations, crime scene analysis, and special operations will continue to allow us to keep the residents of our county safe no matter what the circumstances.”

Animal House/G3 HZ 1/26-2/15

Typically, police UAS systems are fitted with optical zoom or thermal cameras. They are an affordable alternative to helicopter or airplane support, they can be used to monitor crowds for threat protection and they may be employed for advance mapping of an event at a critical infrastructure site. Video taken by UAS systems give investigators another angle they may have overlooked. UAS system are lightweight and average flight time is thirty minutes per battery.

“Based upon what we’ve seen today, UAS systems appear to be very beneficial to law enforcement. They can be used in places where it is too high to climb and they can be used in situations that may prove to be too dangerous to police officers. UAS could be utilized if a hiker gets lost, in water rescue and search operations or in traffic accident reconstructions,” noted North Caldwell Police Chief Mark Deuer, president of the Essex Chiefs Association.

The sheriff’s office and the municipal police departments will individually consider if UAS systems are appropriate and cost-effective for their respective departments.

Sheriff Armando Fontoura (4th from right) assists Monmouth County sheriff’s Detective John Esposito maneuver a police drone at the Essex County Emergency Management Headquarters in West Orange. Also on hand for the demonstration are (left to right) Essex Undersheriff Kevin Ryan, Monmouth Det. Kevin O’Neil, United States Secret Service Special Agent In Charge Mark McKevitt, Essex Lt. John Tully and Essex Dets. Darryl Johnson and Keith Weirzbicki.

Building a Drone Program for Public Safety

For immediate release



Dr. Robin R. Murphy, Texas A&M

David Merrick, Florida State University


Lost hikers found, swimmers rescued with a deployed floatation device, wildfires located from above. Headlines about emergency responders using small, unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) are increasingly common around the world, but the need for accurate, reliable information to inform the many decisions that must be made to implement this exciting new technology effectively can be hard to come by, and expensive.


Texas A&M now offers a five-hour, 0.5 CEU credit online course designed to enable emergency managers to make strategic decisions about starting a sUAS program. The course is unique in that it is not about flying, passing a Part 107 license, or using mapping software but rather about how to define missions for sUAS, train and equip for those missions, and understand the legal, regulatory, and community support ramifications. It specifically covers the types of missions that different small UAS have been used for, what are the practical considerations in buying a small UAS or working with a drone company, what kind of manpower and administrative impact sUAS will have, and best practices for training and deploying. The course distills lessons learned by the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue members’ deployments to more than 15 disasters, starting with Hurricane Katrina (2005) and including Fukushima Daiichi, as well as nearly 400 sorties at Hurricanes Harvey and Irma–all at the request of local agencies, and closely coordinated with existing assets. While aimed at emergency professionals, the course offers valuable insights for independent operators looking to serve emergency responders. The course can be taken online, or in conjunction with hands-on classes that are also being offered. The course costs $200, and is the first in an online certificate program being co-developed by Texas A&M Humanitarian Robotics and AI Laboratory and Florida State University Center for Disaster Risk Policy in conjunction with the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue, a nonprofit organization created to study and implement robotic technology in disaster and emergency response.


To learn more or register, see  Contact for more information about the course and online delivery mechanisms. Contact for classroom versions of the class or to have a tailored, hands-on class.


The Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue is a nonprofit corporation established in 2001 by Texas A&M, and is now an independent entity, the world’s leading organization in deploying, promoting, training, documenting, analyzing, and disseminating scientific knowledge about the use of unmanned systems for disasters. See for more information or contact Dr. Robin Murphy,

Body of missing Carol Smalley believed to have been found

PUBLISHED: 07:48 10 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:22 10 January 2018

A body believed to be that of Carol Smalley has been found. Picture: Norfolk Police

A body believed to be that of Carol Smalley has been found. Picture: Norfolk Police

A body found at an RSPB nature reserve is believed to be that of a 54-year-old woman who went missing from a Norfolk beach.

A body of a female was found on a beach at Minsmere Nature Reserve in Suffolk on Tuesday.

While police said formal identification of the woman’s body is due to take place, it is believed to be that of 54-year-old Carol Smalley, from Lincolnshire.

Her next of kin have been informed.

Police said the death is not being treated as suspicious and a file for the coroner will now be prepared.

Mrs Smalley was last seen on Wednesday, January 3 with her clothes and a bag found on a beach at Hopton.

Her disappearance had led to extensive searches with police even using a drone.

Previous searches involved lifeboat crews and Coastguard teams, a Lowland Search and Rescue Team and the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Missing elderly man from Hingham found in Brockton

An 82-year-old man who went missing from a Hingham retirement community was found safe in Brockton on Thursday morning.

BROCKTON – An elderly man who stole a vehicle from Hingham and went missing for about 16 hours was located at a city high school on Thursday morning.

School police officers assigned to Brockton High School located the stolen Lexus SUV with heavy front-end damage parked outside the school about 6:30 a.m. They then located the missing man, identified as 82-year-old John Kelliher, and brought him inside the cafeteria for warmth.

Darren Duarte, the chief of staff for Mayor Bill Carpenter, said police noticed “what appeared to be a disoriented senior citizen outside of the high school” and brought him inside.

A Silver Alert was issued for Kelliher by Hingham police about 8 p.m. on Wednesday. They said Kelliher, who has Alzheimer’s disease, had last been seen about 2 p.m. at Linden Ponds, a retirement community where he lives.

Police reported that an employee’s 2013 Lexus RX SUV had been stolen and Kelliher was likely driving it.

On Wednesday night, police used canines and a drone to search for Kelliher, but were not successful.

On Thursday morning, Hingham police learned that Kelliher was seen in Taunton about 6 a.m. A motorist called to report the stolen SUV, driven by Kelliher, had crashed into a snowbank, but he drove off before police arrived.

Brockton school police officers then located Kelliher, who was uninjured, at the high school on Thursday morning about 6:30 a.m.

Kelliher was taken by ambulance to Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton for an evaluation and his family was notified that he was safe.

Hingham police Sgt. Steven Dearth said Kelliher will not face charges in town related to the vehicle theft. Police in Brockton also said they won’t file any charges.

The stolen SUV, which was recovered at the high school, was towed from the scene.

A school district spokeswoman referred all questions to the mayor’s office.

Patriot Ledger reporter Erin Tiernan contributed to this report. SOURCE

Drones: You can use them for fun but Phoenix could use them for safety

Drones may have been among the most popular Christmas gifts this year for residents, but cities are also exploring the evolving technology for professional uses.

Phoenix is evaluating how it can use the unmanned aircraft to simplify or speed up its operations. In the future, the city hopes to use drones to assist with mountain rescues, police situations and even marketing.

But recent meeting discussions about how the city can use drones left some council members with questions about how the public can use the popular devices.

Amateur and unlicensed drone users are a growing part of the population. The Federal Aviation Administration predicts that hobbyists’ drones will increase from 1.9 million in 2016 to as many as 4.3 million by 2020.

Vice Mayor Laura Pastor, who said she bought two drones for her children at Christmas, said at a meeting Wednesday she was surprised to learn all of the legal stipulations and ramifications of drones.

“As the mother of two drones, I now need to figure this out,” Pastor said.

The Phoenix Police Department is trying to educate hobbyists on those laws. Here’s a look at what you can and can’t to do as a hobbyist.

John Nunes pilots his drone, January 10, 2018, at Kiwanis
John Nunes pilots his drone, January 10, 2018, at Kiwanis Park, 6111 S All America Way, Tempe. (Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)
How to legally fly drones in Phoenix

Because drones enter airspace — which is controlled by the federal government — but could land on or take off from city land, a hodgepodge of rules applies to drone users.

The FAA requires a license for commercial and professional operators, but not hobbyists. To fly a drone without a license, an operator must follow these rules, according to the FAA:

Fly for recreation only.
Register the drone with the FAA. (It’s $5 every three years.)
Keep the drone within sight while flying.
Follow safety guidelines.
Drone must weigh less than 55 pounds.
Never fly near other aircraft.
Never fly near emergency situations.
SEE ALSO: My Turn: Sick of drones getting in the way? Blame the feds for that

In 2016, Phoenix considered adopting its own drone regulations, but a state law passed the same year limited what cities can regulate regarding drones.

That same law also made any violation of federal drone policies — like operating a drone near an emergency situation — a criminal offense under state law.

Under the 2016 law, cities can only regulate drone use in public parks. Phoenix has limited drones to eight parks:

Coyote Basin Park – 2730 E. Beardsley Road (27th Place and Beardsley Road).
Desert Foothills Park – Lower Field – 1010 Marketplace Southwest (Chandler Boulevard and Desert Foothills Parkway).
Dynamite Park – 4550 E. Dynamite Road (north of Dynamite Road at 44th Street).
El Prado Park – 6428 S. 19th Ave (19th and Southern avenues).
Esteban Park – Eastern Quadrant – 3345 E. Roeser Road (32nd Street and Broadway Road).
Grover’s Basin Park B – 17447 N. 20th St. (Cave Creek Road and Grovers Avenue).
Mountain View II Park – open space south of the ballfield, 9901 N. 7th Ave. (7th and Cinnabar avenues).
Werner’s Field Park – 17831 N. 7th Ave. (7th and Grovers avenues).
John Nunes pilots his drone, January 10, 2018, at Kiwanis
John Nunes pilots his drone, January 10, 2018, at Kiwanis Park, 6111 S All America Way, Tempe. (Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)
Because of the limits on what cities are allowed to require of drone operators, police departments have also struggled with how to enforce the rules that do exist.

“Law enforcement across Arizona is grappling on how they’re going to conduct drone enforcement,” said Sgt. Blake Carlson of the Phoenix Police Department’s Homeland Defense Bureau.

The Phoenix Police Department adopted enforcement policies for drone use in November, which reflect the state and federal laws regarding drones.

Carlson said the department does not plan to arrest people for improper drone use unless it puts people at a safety risk.

If an officer comes across a drone operator who’s using the device in an improper area, the officer will first try to educate. The department has not yet arrested anyone for illegal use, according to department officials.

“We see the major violators as potentially the hobbyists who don’t know all the rules, who haven’t studied up on FAA regulations regarding drone use,” Carlson said.

Here are some of the most frequent drone violations, according to the police department policies:

Flying a drone within five miles of an airport without special permission.
Flying a drone more than 400 feet above the ground.
Flying a drone out of sight of the operator.
Flying a drone over a large crowd of people, including stadiums and sporting events.
Flying a drone at night.
Flying a drone in a way that disrupts other aircraft.
John Nunes pilots his drone, January 10, 2018, at Kiwanis
John Nunes pilots his drone, January 10, 2018, at Kiwanis Park, 6111 S All America Way, Tempe. (Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)
How the city could use drones

City staffers are formulating a policy for professional drone usage by employees that would allow at least 10 city departments to use drones to improve or speed up their duties.

Many cities, including Mesa and Scottsdale, are already using drones for public safety situations, but Phoenix has yet to embrace the new technology.

The drone policy will balance the effectiveness of drones with resident concerns about privacy, according to city staff. A final policy will come before council later this year.

Here is how Phoenix could use the drones in the future:

Locate missing hikers.
Address active shooter situations from a distance.
Provide added security at large-scale events.
Crime-scene photography.
Evaluate water treatment facilities without being onsite.
Capture footage of Phoenix parks trails.

Search growing for missing duck hunters

SURRY COUNTY, Va. (WVEC) — The search is growing for two waterfowl hunters who have been missing for more than a week.

Search crews are now able to get through the water easily thanks to the warm weather.

Austin Savage and Kyle Englehart have been missing since last Thursday, after taking a jon-boat out on the James River Wednesday night.

However, State Conservation Police are not giving up. Many other law enforcement agencies are also helping with the search.

“We will not give up on Kyle and Austin,” Captain Milt Robinson says. “We all get emotional, we have sons and daughters, but we’re in contact with both families and we’re keeping them updated.”

Conservation Police Officer with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Captain Milton says they have had someone out searching every single day since Thursday.

He says now that the snow and ice are gone they can search those areas they couldn’t get to a week ago.

“We’re just putting this puzzle together to find these two young men,” Robinson says. “Even though we may have been hindered by the ice, we always had someone out doing something every day.”

Police are searching miles and miles of water, using sonar, drone and dive teams. Police are also walking the shore line on the James City County side and Surry County side.

Officials say they are committed to this search and won’t give up until they find Savage and Englehart.

© 2018 WVEC-TV


Toledo Police locate missing teenager

TOLEDO (13abc Action News) UPDATE: ‪Toledo police have found the missing teenager. They posted the following message on Facebook: “Thankfully, Quamell Jones has been found safe … A passerby saw him walking on the AW Trail by Sherwood. Thank you for the shares. Great job to the citizen that stopped and called #toledopolice! ‬Thanks to the teachers from Autism Model Academy that joined the search.”

Toledo Police tell 13abc that officers are still searching for 15-year-old Quamell Jones. Quamell was last seen on N. Holland Sylvania early Saturday morning. The teen has autism and police say he functions at an 8-year-old level. Wind chills overnight were below zero. Toledo Police said they have K-9s, marked units, and even a drone looking for the autistic teenager.

Quamell is a black male and was last seen wearing a puffy style black coat, blue jeans, and brown shoes. He weighs 120 pounds and it 5’9″.

He used to live on Fernwood and attends the Autism Model Academy over on Tremainsville. If you have any idea of where Quamell Jones may be, call 9-1-1 or 419-245-1111. LINK