reader comments 60
Share this story
A sheriff’s department in Iowa has changed its drone usage policy in response to criticism from the county attorney, ensuring that department drones will no longer be used to search for missing animals.
According to WHO TV, Boone County attorney Daniel Kolacia chastised the sheriff for deploying a drone to “track down some loose cattle north of Ogden,” a town of about 2,000 people approximately 50 miles northwest of Des Moines. (The entire county has a population of just over 26,000.) The 24 cows belonged to a county supervisor, Chet Hollingshead, who requested the sheriff send out the drone in the name of “public safety,” as he didn’t want his cattle hit.
All but five cows were recovered.
Kolacia, who did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment, reportedly sent a letter to county officials saying that county property should not be used for personal use. “If I see or hear anything, any wrongdoing, it’s my job to remind people what the law says and that we all follow the law,” Kolacia told the television station late last month.
The drone reportedly “sustained $300 in damage” when the sheriff’s deputy temporarily lost control of the drone, and it crashed into a tree.
As a result, the drone was unavailable during a subsequent incident where three boys who were in custody had escaped. Hollingshead also said he would pay to repair the drone.
“At the time, my deputy that was using it deemed it a public safety issue and that has since been clarified and we will no longer be using it for that purpose, searching for animals or cattle in this case,” Boone County Chief Deputy Rick Lampe told WHO TV.
Neither Hollingshead nor Lampe immediately responded to Ars’ request for comment.