Search for missing Woodbury man could lead to more drone use

Published 9:42 am Monday, November 14, 2016

WOODBURY — Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association officials said the recent use of a drone in the search for a vulnerable man who had disappeared from his Woodbury home is a sign that drone use is going to increase.

Director Jim Franklin told the Pioneer Press  that the association is scrambling to put together standardized recommendations for drone use by law enforcement agencies.

The missing man was eventually found by the Minnesota State Patrol, not the drone supplied by Green Remote Aviation. But Woodbury Police spokeswoman Michelle Okada said the department found it to be extremely helpful.

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“This was our debut,” said Derrick Green, a co-owner of Green Remote Aviation of White Bear Lake Township. “This was our first public safety mission.”

Lawmakers who oppose drones have cited privacy concerns in the past, but Franklin said law enforcement has only used drones to search for missing people, not for surveillance or in criminal cases.