Montgomery County Introduces the ShadowHawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

By: Shane McAuliffe Email
By: Shane McAuliffe Email

It's been used for military operations in countries like Afghanistan and East Africa but now it's coming to a country near you.

"We're the only sheriff's office in the state that's going to have a piece of equipment like this," said Montgomery County Sheriff Tommy Gage.

Sheriff Gage introduced his department's newest tool, the ShadowHawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or UAV.

"We look forward to utilizing it in a variety of capacities that protect our employees from harm to the extent possible and to enhance the protection to our citizens and their safety," said Montgomery County Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel.

Thanks to live streaming video, the U-A-V is capable of investigating crimes in progress. It also has night vision and can pick up heat signatures which could help with search and rescues. It can help firefighters with aerial views of fires or even HAZMAT spills.

As you can imagine, all the help comes with a price tag. At $500,000 a pop, Montgomery county spent $250,000 to get the UAV. The rest was covered by a Department of Homeland Security grant.

"Although the initial cost may seem high to some when comparing it to a manned helicopter, there is no comparison because this is so much more efficient to operate," said McDaniel.

Efficient thanks to an hourly cost per use of less than $20 an hour.

A small price to pay to have a priceless aspect in crime fighting.

Montgomery County is still in the process of training its operators in the use of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and Sheriff Tommy Gage says it should be ready for high flying action in about a month.

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