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Experienced drone pilots lend their talents to South Congaree Police Department for high-tech crime

South Congaree, SC (Paul Kirby) – Monday, Chief Josh Shumpert of the South Congaree Police Department announced that two experienced drone pilots would be lending their equipment and flight expertise to the police as another tool to fight crime in the town. The Spires have a great deal of experience piloting drones and already have the equipment necessary, saving the town the expense of buying its own equipment, licensing, and training pilots.

Drones have been used for public safety work across the nation and in Lexington County before. Shortly after Sheriff Jay Koon was elected, he ended the department’s helicopter program because of the high cost associated with it. Later, Lexington County invested in drones that could be called on by law enforcement, firefighters, and even the county’s mapping department to see things from heights if need be.

Chief Shumpert said Monday that the South Congaree Police Department understands the concerns of some residents over the use of drone technology, especially regarding privacy. Shumpert said that the use of drones in town will be in emergency situations such as when there is a missing person, and an aerial view will provide a totally different perspective. They can also be used periodically to check roads at night and around the commercial district for suspicious activity. He emphasized that they will not be used to peer into someone’s back yard. These drones can identify individuals who may be suspects in a crime and pinpoint their exact locations quickly. This makes it possible to be able to provide that location for officers to check with less manpower according to Shumpert.

Chief Shumpert also pointed out the benefit of the drone technology in crime prevention efforts as well. “We feel that this could help deter criminals from walking around breaking into cars or stealing from our citizens who work hard for what they have. Unfortunately, as criminals get smarter, we must be able to do the same to protect and serve the citizens of our community,” Chief Shumpert concluded. According to Shumpert, the drones are just another tool that are available to the department if needed. He thanked the Spires for the offer to support the department and hoped that the program would be beneficial in the future.

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