(TNS) – The Fredericksburg police and fire departments’ newest “recruits” are bright orange, weigh 3.5 pounds and can fly for 25 minutes without recharging their batteries.
More importantly, the two Autel X-Star Premium small unmanned aircraft systems, or sUAS as drones are officially known, are a less expensive alternative to airplanes for providing “eyes in the skies.”
Armed with still and video cameras, they’re expected to be a useful tool in everything from child abduction cases and the apprehension of violent criminals to assessing traffic accidents and the water level on the Rappahannock River.
They’ve already been used to get an overhead picture of Celebrate Virginia After Hours concert venue at 5030 Gordon W. Shelton Blvd. for planning purposes, and to help locate a missing person who was found on the Virginia Central Railway Trail near Idlewild.
“A drone allows you to cover a larger area than a search crew,” said Michael Jones, Fredericksburg’s