Oh, deer: Northampton police employ use of drone for first-ever field operation

NORTHAMPTON — As the city slept, the deer ran free.

At some point Thursday evening, police said, a tree at Look Park fell and left an escape route open in one of the enclosures that hold two deer. On Friday morning, when park staff realized the deer were gone, they enlisted the help of city police.

When Sgt. Patrick Moody and officer Michael Allard arrived on the scene, it occurred to them: This was a job for the drone — the DGI Phantom IV, to be exact. It would be the first time the department employed the use of the flying camera since it was acquired in January.

And so up, up, up the drone went, ascending until it hovered — the humming and buzzing getting more and more faint the higher it goes — 400 feet above Look Park to capture an aerial view otherwise impossible. On the ground below,

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