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Stafford Alert






Stafford Sheriff’s Office Tapped by State Officials to Lead Regional Drone Workshop
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By Public Information Officer Amanda Vicinanzo
October 1, 2019

Stafford, VA – For the past several years, the Stafford Sheriff’s Office has built a reputation for being a leader with drone technology for law enforcement uses, and now its drone team will lead a regional workshop on public safety uses for the unmanned aerial systems. The workshop will take place on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 in the Ford T. Humphrey Public Safety Building, 1225 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA.

“Our drone program has been extremely successful in a number of cases from locating missing individuals to helping us track down suspects on the run to recreating accident scenes,” said Stafford Sheriff David Decatur. “We are honored when others take notice of our efforts and always welcome opportunities to share our knowledge and lessons learned with other organizations.”

Stafford’s team was asked by officials from the Virginia Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security to feature its drone cases and capabilities. Assistant Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Shawn Talmadge and Director of Virginia’s Unmanned Systems Center Tracy Tynan will speak at the workshop as well as national expert and Director of the non-profit public safety program DRONERESPONDERS Charles Werner, who will discuss how to build an effective drone program. Stafford’s team will also conduct field demonstrations as part of the workshop.

When the Sheriff’s Office started the drone program in 2017, it became the first law enforcement agency in Virginia to use drones solely for law enforcement purposes. Since then, Capt. Ben Worcester, who heads the office’s drone program, has traveled around the country talking about how it is used in Stafford. Besides locating missing persons and finding criminals, drones can assist in crime scene documentation. They can also capture environmental disasters, help with traffic assessments, or aid people in distress such as by dropping a life preserver or a tow line to them if they are struggling in a body of water.

Recently, the Sheriff’s Office Traffic Safety Unit was recognized by the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP) for its use of drones for reconstructing crash scenes. Traditionally, crash reconstruction can take hours, and use of drones significantly reduces that time. The association recognized the unit’s efforts with the 2019 Virginia Law Enforcement Challenge award in the technology category. The Sheriff’s Office also received a second place award for an agency of our size. The awards were presented at the VACP’s 94th Annual Training Conference on August 27 in Norfolk, VA.

“Embracing technology is critical to the success of any law enforcement agency,” said Sheriff Decatur. “Leveraging these advanced tools helps us do a better job of protecting our citizens and keeping our community safe.”


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