OCSO gives first look at new state-of-the-art drones

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ORLANDO, Fla. - WFTV got a look at the new unmanned drones that'll be flying missions for investigators with the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

The OCSO unveiled the two new drones and demonstrated how they'll be used.

  "(Examples are) armed hostage or barricaded subjects situations, bomb incidents, domestic terrorist incidents, outdoor searches for missing persons or chemical spills," said Sheriff Jerry Demings.

Deputies said the new technology will not only give them an eye in the sky, it will also give them the ability to see around dangerous corners before officers move in.

During the demo, deputies pretended a man in a truck was refusing to get out and possibly armed. Deputies used the drone to check out the scene while they remained out of harm's way.

Officials said their drones are very different from military ones, saying they can't fire weapons and operators can only be a short distance away. The drones also cannot fly at high altitudes.

The new drones cost $50,000, about the same as the cost would be to hire a new deputy.

"We're trying to save lives, and if we save just one life by using this, then it's well worth it," said Demings.

The sheriff's Office also said worker's compensation claims from fallen or injured officers far exceed the amount paid for the drones.

But there are some who worry by using the drones, the Sheriff's Office could violate citizens' rights.

But the sheriff said that will never happen.

"We will not be using any of these devices in circumstance where individuals have a right to privacy," said Demings.

The Sheriff's Office is still testing the drones, and officials said eight people will be trained to use them.