Sheriff’s fleet of drones helps catch bad guys but presents privacy problems

Sometimes, the best way to look at something is from 400 feet in the air — especially when that something is a fugitive trying to outrun the police.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office has learned that lesson well over the last year by flying its fleet of drones over crash scenes, SWAT standoffs and wildfires to get an overview of thorny situations, all without having to put deputies at risk.

So far the sheriff’s office is the only law enforcement agency in Hamilton County that has an unmanned aerial surveillance system program, and deputies are finding the potential applications of their drone division are myriad.

“They have a lot of advantages,” Sheriff Jim Hammond said Friday while watching a detective fly a drone at Chester Frost Park. “It’s good to get up there and cover a wide area in a short amount of time.”

The drone division has proven as much by responding to

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