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November 30, 2017 • Headline News
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Sheriff’s department purchases two drones with commissary money
Drones to help with ‘search and rescue’

Wanda English Burnett

A drone or UAS (unmanned aircraft system) can be used for a variety of reasons and Ripley County Sheriff’s Department now has two that will assist them with “mostly search and rescue” according to Sheriff Jeff Cumberworth.

Ripley County Sheriff Department has drone trial run WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
Inset, one of the recently purchased UAS or (Unmanned Aircraft System) more commonly referred to as a drone, was coming in for a landing near the sheriff’s department after a trial run. Also pictured, Ripley County Sheriff Detective Abe Hildebrand, was trying his hand at the controls, as other law enforcement look on.

Six officers, including the sheriff, were trained on the use of drones recently by Lt. Andy Klane, a 29-year veteran of the Mass. State Police. Lt. Randy Holt, Deputy Winston Halcomb, Deputy Brian Redick, Detective Abe Hildebrand and Deputy Steve Sullivan, have all been trained to use the drones. Sheriff Cumberworth explained that his office cannot just simply purchase one and begin flying it. They have strict guidelines to adhere to and each one manning the drone must hold 107 credentials after they have successfully passed an aviation test.

Lt. Klane said, “It’s unbelievable what it (drone) will do on a crash scene.” He talked about the capabilities and functions of each of the two drones the sheriff’s department now has. The Phantom 4 is a smaller unit and the DJI Matrice is larger with a flir, which has heat image capabilities. Both have cameras with long ranges. He further noted what could take two to three hours to find, can be found within 20-30 minutes with the new equipment. The sheriff said when you’re talking about a person with autism, Alzheimers or an elderly person or child who is lost - time means everything. He also knows the layout of the large county of Ripley and that it is very rural with many ponds.

While it’s a great tool for the sheriff’s department, it comes with a lot of responsibility. It cannot be flown higher than 400 feet and has to be within eyesight of the operator. Both of the drones will return to a pre-set place. They have to be in compliance with all FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulations at all times. Matthew Chastain, who has a pilot’s license is an advisor for the sheriff’s department.

“I can count six instances within the past two months we could have used a drone,” Sheriff Cumberworth noted. He said they will work closely with any police department in the county when they have need of this new tool. There are many uses for the drone and it is being used presently in the agriculture, mining and construction businesses, according to Lt. Klane. He noted that many law enforcement agencies are getting them and the drones have proven to be a great asset. He noted that it could be used for the unthinkable such as an active shooter situation in a school or business.

When the training was taking place, several officers came to see the drone in use, including troopers from the Indiana State Police, Judge Jeff Sharp, Prosecutor Ric Hertel and others from various agencies. Jennings County Sheriff’s department detective and deputies were also there saying what a great asset this will be.

Sheriff Cumberworth is excited to have yet another tool to work with at the sheriff’s department and a group willing to learn. He noted that taxpayers were not out any money for the drones, since they were purchased with commissary money. “It’s not a toy – it’s serious business,” noted Lt. Klane. He concluded, “The sheriff (Cumberworth) is doing this by the numbers, he’s doing this right.”

OSHA safety standards, math, science discussed
SCC students learn commercial maintenance

The Building and Facilities Maintenance program prepares students to perform routine care and maintenance activities in commercial and institutional buildings. Activities include classroom and lab experiences in many phases of the care and cleaning of buildings. The importance of selection and use of professional supplies needed for care and maintenance, as well as OSHA safety standards. The lab emphasis is placed on the use of hand and power tools, as well as selection and use of appropriate supplies needed for care, repair and maintenance.

Southeastern Career Center Building MaintenanceSUBMITTED PHOTO
Pictured left, members of the Building and Facilities Maintenance class, along with their instructor, proudly display the SkillsUSA State Champion banner for 2017. The Facility Maintenance students have earned four 1st place State Championship banners, which hangs proudly in their classroom. No other school in the state has the banners and the group is glad to show them off. During the upcoming months, they will be multitasking with their shop activities and regional SkillsUSA competition.

Students reinforce their math skills through the practical study of measurement units, ratios, area, and volume calculations. Scientific knowledge is enhanced through environmental concerns and chemical and electrical safety instruction. Language skills are strengthened through oral and written work intended to improve students’ abilities to communicate with supervisors, colleagues and clients.

As the midpoint of the 2017-18 school year approaches, the Facility Maintenance class continues to find new ways to impact the communities of its sending schools. In the past, the class has made monetary donations to the Turning Point shelter in Jefferson County and to the Women’s Homeless Shelter in Jennings County through fundraising activities. New fundraising activities recently kicked off to support a new Community Service Project. Using their learned vocational skills students are designing, creating and assembling handmade toys for children at local hospitals and shelter homes. The goal is to complete 200 toys to pass out before the Christmas break with an initiative supported by donations made by sponsorship donations. The entire Southeastern Career Center student body is given an opportunity to sponsor a race car for $1. The sponsorship goes towards offsetting the cost of materials and supplies.

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