Sheriff’s Office unveils drone it will be deploying

Draganflyer Commander demonstrated at Benderson Park

Image courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

On Sept. 12, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office announced the rollout of its newest technology: the Draganflyer Commander drone.

It was purchased in September 2016, nearly two years after the agency’s Law Enforcement Division and General Counsel’s Office began researching the use of unmanned aircraft systems, a news release explains. Following advanced training for personnel and development of policy and procedures, as well as taking an in-depth look at Florida privacy laws, the Sheriff’s Office announced during a Sept. 12 media event that it is ready to deploy the Draganflyer.

“We are very pleased to finally announce the capabilities of this technology,” said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release. “This wasn’t a decision we made overnight, as it took several months of research and training. This equipment is crucial to disaster response, search and rescue missions, and tactical deployment during a major incident,” he added in the release.
Among the drone’s benefits for the department are less disruption at an active crime scene, its ability to achieve closer proximity to a major incident and its flying capabilities in inclement weather, the release says. Operators must be trained by the manufacturer and pass the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 107 Remote Aircraft Knowledge Exam, the release notes.

The drone can fly for 40 minutes at a time — across a 100 acres — with lightweight payloads, the Draganflyer website explains. It also has a video downlink system.

Learn more about the Draganflyer Commander by visiting