Greenfield Police use new drone to help investigators

The drone may look like a toy but it actually represents the latest technology.
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A local police department has come up with a new way help investigators.

Greenfield Police are now operating an unmanned aerial vehicle. The drone may look like a toy but it actually represents the latest technology.

The remote-controlled helicopter can hoist a small, high definition camera over an accident scene to help investigators, or give police a better view of a dangerous standoff situation.

Chief John Jester told Eyewitness News, "I would much rather have that shot out of the air than have an officer shot or injured by looking over a fence at somebody."

The device just arrived in the mail one week ago. Three days later, police put it to use. They documented a deadly crash at Meridian Road and State Road 234.

Greenfield Police think other departments would be wise to adopt the same technology.

The chopper cost about $650, the camera a few hundred more, for a total investment of just over $1,000.

Jester says it was paid for with drug seizure money.

Accident scene investigator Major Derek Towle feels like the drone already paid for itself by saving time and resources.

"It helped me out so much by having those pictures, that video that was available to me," Towle said.

Jester plans to check with the Hancock County prosecutor and city attorney before using the drone for any other purposes.

The Greenfield fire department is also interested. They hope to use the drone for training and to get a better view of hot spots in a fire.

A state Senate committee is scheduled to review the use of drones this summer.

Lawmakers want to make sure police have guidelines, and people can protect their privacy.