Thanks to an $80,000 grant from the National Joint Powers Alliance (now called Sourcewell), Crow Wing County was able to start a drone response program in late 2017/early 2018. The grant paid not only to buy two foldable Mavic Pro drones, but also two large Matrice 210 drones with two cameras, one with zoom and one with infrared capabilities.
“The concept kind of came about a couple years ago, about the capabilities a drone could provide for public safety in Crow Wing County,” said John Bowen, Crow Wing County emergency management director.
Drones were used at the scene of a Crosslake fire last week, as well as at the Crosslake St. Patrick’s Day Parade in March.
Crow Wing Sheriff’s Department Capt. Scott Goddard said the department had included a drone in its list of “wants” on the budget for several years, especially after the 2015 storms that swept the area, but the grant