Human management

Director of Emergency Management releases details of county’s new drone

MARSHALL — Director of Emergency Management Louis Roberts said Madison County’s new public safety drone is ready to fly.

“It will be used for search and rescue, fire, situational awareness, finding lost people,” Roberts said April 12 at the Madison County Board of Commissioners meeting.

Roberts said the department purchased the drone from Airworx Unmanned Solutionsa company specializing in public safety-focused unmanned aircraft system (UAS) services.

According to Roberts, the drone is a DJI Mavic Enterprise Advanced model.

“It has a visual camera with zoom and thermal imaging capabilities in a single package,” Roberts said.

The Director of Emergency Management told the board that he and another member of the EM Department/Fire Marshal were certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate the aircraft.

The director of emergency management said that if the range of the drone is subject to weather conditions, the range of the system extends to 3 to 4 miles “on a normal day”.

In June 2016, the FAA released remote pilot certification and operating rules for small civil unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds.

On February 13, 2019, the FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking titled Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems over People, which proposed to modify these regulations to allow routine operations of small unmanned aircraft over people and at night. under certain conditions, the FAA said on its website.

Part 107 of the Operations Over People rule, which went into effect in April 2021, requires registration with the FAA and that operators become an FAA-certified drone pilot by passing the agency’s knowledge test.

“What I’m here tonight is your approval of standard operating procedures for operating the aircraft,” Roberts said.

Commissioner Matt Wechtel wondered if the drone could potentially be used to prosecute perpetrators in general.

“It’s part of the policy – I made sure to write it down,” Roberts said. “Anyone who is wanted or suspected of a crime, we are able to help them if they are sure to do so.”

Commissioner Michael Garrison argued for the applicability of the drone.

“If you’re doing a lost person on a trail, a (lost) child in the neighborhood, or doing a river rescue, (that’s helpful),” Garrison said.

The director of emergency management said the EM team’s use of Reems Creek and Broad River Fire Department drone systems encouraged him to pursue the DJI Mavic.

“They have great drone programs, and I tried to base ours on theirs,” he said. “It’s a great tool.”

The Hot Springs Elementary Flag Team

Fifth graders from Hot Springs Elementary led the council and attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Alicia King, a fifth-grade elementary school teacher, coordinated students on a flag team a few weeks ago. She said SRO Scott Lunsford helped train the students for the show.

“Officer Scott really took over – he trained them to do it,” King said. “It takes time, effort and energy. They spent many hours throughout the year doing it. It was like the culminating event. They were fired up. They were part of these “nervous-excited”, but they have a really good show. All these adults there were so impressed with them. I was really impressed with them too.

Alicia King poses with her fifth graders from Hot Springs Elementary.  The school's flag team was featured at the April 12 meeting of the Madison County Board of Commissioners.

Lunsford said he enjoyed his work with the students.

“They’re good kids,” Lunsford said. “All of my kids in Hot Springs are just wonderful. These guys, I’m very proud that when they go to college, they’re going to show everyone. They’re good kids.”

According to King, the idea of ​​having the students lead the commissioners in the engagement came when one of the Huskies asked if his work would be exhibited.

Lunsford took over from there.

“They were like, ‘Can we show somebody our flag team skills? ‘” King said. “So I asked Officer Scott about it, and he said he’d make a few calls. He got us in here.”

The Hot Springs SRO said its job supervising the flag team was easy, as the students came up with many of the team’s ideas on their own.

“They really like to own things,” King said. “They value their independence very much.”

The Hot Springs Elementary flag team poses for a photo with commissioners Matt Wechtel, background left, Norris Gentry, middle background, and chairman Mark Snelson.

The teacher said her students’ ingenuity is just one facet of their role models.

“They have very good civic skills. They just like to be good to everyone, everywhere, all the time,” she said.

King, a resident of Johnson City, Tennessee, said the spirit of love is what makes her stay in Hot Springs so enjoyable.

“I commute an hour there and back every day,” King said. “It’s so worth it because it’s such a wonderful place. I can’t even tell you how much I love it.”

Although she hasn’t needed to use it yet, King keeps comfortable sleeping arrangements if she stays out too late one night and doesn’t feel like making the drive home.

“I have a beanbag chair in my classroom for emergencies,” she joked. “We call it the soothing corner.”