PERRY COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Law enforcement officers have a new weapon when fighting crime these days. Their latest go to tool? Drones.
"With the things that are happening in this country and around the world right now, well take Dallas for instance, they sent a robot in instead of having the officers go in," Perry County Deputy Randy Adams said.
Adams said the next big step in law enforcement is taking to the skies.
"It keeps our officers safe and out of harm's way so we can evaluate get a handle on the situation," he said.
More and more departments are going to drones, going up high to gather information on the down low, seeing without being seen.
"While we're flying a drone say the bad guy scenario we can station officers where we need them through the radio you know while we're still watching the guy and he may not even realize that he's being on camera with the drone he may not even realize we're watching him," Adams said.
He said having a drone's bird's eye view can get situations handled faster saving time and money.
"The two subjects left a scene of an accident, that drone covered more area than two people would have in an hour and it did in 10 minutes," Adams said.
Many departments are opting to forgo helicopters and use drones. They are much cheaper, much faster to a scene and all it requires is a battery pack.
"With a drone, the sheriff can call me and I'm out in five to 10 minutes and I'm there on scene," Adams said. "We're up in the air, and we're looking already it's a lot less expensive, cause it doesn't cost hardly anything just the electric to charge the batteries for the drone."
The drone cost the Perry County Sheriff's Office between $1,200 to $1,500.
Drones are being used in farming, bridge inspections and photography too.
The chair for the Department of Polytechnic Studies at Southeast Missouri State University, Dr. Brad Deken, said the department can see drones as a tool being more common in the future.
"They certainly have the ability to open it up wider, and the uses for drones are astounding I mean you have everything from law enforcement, to agriculture, to constructions they just have so many applications," Dr. Deken said.
Dr. Deken said in the fall of 2017, Southeast Missouri State will have a new program involving drones, it will be a Bachelor of Science in unmanned aircraft systems.