DNR enters new dimension of search and rescue

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has added small unmanned aircraft systems to their search and rescue capabilities. (Photo Provided/DNR)
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has added small unmanned aircraft systems to their search and rescue capabilities. (Photo Provided/DNR)

INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI) — Indiana conservation officers now have new search and rescue capabilities as the Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division has added small unmanned aircraft systems, or SUAS.

DNR is the first state emergency response agency to receive official endorsement to use drones for the purpose of search and rescue operations, officials said.

Capt. Keith Dinn, support services assistant commander, said the SUAS machines will greatly enhance their department’s ability to quickly find lost children, hikers, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts and injured people.

“The training and expertise our certified pilots have received gives me confidence that our officers and other emergency responding agencies will have a much higher rate of success in locating citizens in need with a much quicker response time,” Dinn stated in a release.

There are currently five conservation officers trained as certified pilots of the drones and are prepared for statewide response.

The DNR Law Enforcement Division has two drones with hopes to add more to its fleet.

According to DNR, besides locating lost individuals, the SUAS will map out obstacles for first responders and provide knowledge of upcoming dangers before an encounter.

DNR Law Enforcement Director Danny East said he couldn’t be more proud of his agency as they make this innovative and futuristic step forward.