NORFOLK, Neb. (KCAU) — Norfolk Fire, and more recently Norfolk Police, have begun to use drone technology to assist the City of Norfolk.

First responders in Madison County have been meeting and planning for about a year on how to meet the area’s needs for drones during operations.

According to a release, a partnership between the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Norfolk Fire and Norfolk Police was formed to create a drone program. The program will include training, personnel and equipment. Officials are currently getting the necessary permissions from the FAA and have purchased two small training drones that will be shared between the agencies.

Officials state that all usage of the drones will be for public safety and serve a specific purpose in order to respect individual rights to privacy. Some flights may require a search warrant before use.

Current uses include:

  • Locating missing persons
  • Locating suspects
  • Identifying fire hot spots and structural integrity to fight fires as safely as possible
  • Clear buildings and vehicles in front of officers
  • Mapping and recording accident and crime scenes with amazing accuracy
  • Monitor community emergencies such as floods, tornado response etc.

The American Legion Auxiliary Unit #16 donated the funds for the program to purchase their first drone to use on missions.

Officials are continuing to look for funding sources to purchase additional drones and are hoping to have the program off the ground by the end of the summer.

Anyone with questions is welcome to contact Norfolk Police Chief Don Miller, Norfolk Fire Assistant Chief Trever O’Brien or Madison Sheriff Todd Volk.