Drones - Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS)

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office uses many tools to keep our community safe. Among them are Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS), more commonly known as drones.

This technology is useful in reducing costs and improving the safety of the public and deputies. At the same time, the use of sUAS by our agency is strictly regulated to ensure that privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties are protected.

Here is how we use sUAS in our operations:

Search and Rescue

Drones are well suited for search and rescue work because they can cover a lot of ground quickly. They can also search in areas difficult to reach. Whether looking for missing hikers or lost children, our sUAS help make our Search and Rescue operations more efficient and effective.

Traffic Crash Reconstruction

A goal in responding to traffic crashes is to clear the scene as quickly as possible for the safety of deputies and use of the roadway by the public. To do that, the scene must first be documented. The use of a drone to capture a digital, aerial view of the scene provides investigators with good data about what happened while reducing the time it takes to clear the crash.

Law Enforcement Response

In law enforcement responses, such as responding to an active shooter or an armed subject, sUAS can be used to acquire critical information on a suspect’s location without risking the lives of deputies. They are also useful in crime scene analysis, saving detectives hours of time in photographing the scene.

Information collected using sUAS is secured, retained, disseminated, and purged in accordance with Oregon law.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office use of sUAS began in 2019 when we acquired drones through a grant-funded program. As part of that grant funding, each year we provide the public with a general summary of the agency’s sUAS operations.