Henry County PD Gets Drones, FD Honors Staff

The Henry County Police Department recently made strides in public safety by starting a Special Wide Angle Reconnaissance Mitigation unit.

Nicknamed SWARM, the unit will use drones to record and photograph wreck and fatality scenes using a high-definition camera and to search for missing persons and runaways with thermal body heat detection.

“We have a need for aviation style units, and helicopter units are cost-prohibitive,” unit commander Capt. Vance Rosen said in a statement. “Implementing this drone unit is a way for us to get eyes in the air to scan greater areas to find what we are looking for.”

The department funded its DJI Phantom 3 and Maxsur Seeker drones with $15,000 in federal seized assets and forfeitures, according to county Communications Specialist Erika Richards.

She said the county is one of the first in Georgia to get Federal Aviation Administration permission to operate drones.

Chief pilot and training officer Allen Harmon will instruct about 20 officers, Richards said, who will undergo FAA classroom, online and on-site training.

The county commission recently approved $500 donations from the Tanger Outlet Center in Locust Grove, which credits county public safety departments for providing a safe shopping environment, according to a news release, and a donation of about $27,000 from the county fire department’s golf tournament.

In other fire department news, fire service personnel recently received kudos at an annual awards banquet.

The Jan. 20 event, also in Locust Grove, featured attendance by Fire Chief Nish Willis, county Chair June Wood and other dignitaries.

“The banquet honored the women and men of the fire department for their exemplary service and true dedication to the citizens of Henry County,” department spokesman Capt. Michael Black said in a statement.

The honorees are:

-Firefighter of the year, Wade Burch;

-EMT of the year, Sam Thompson;

-Paramedic of the year, Seth Crisp;

-Officer of the year, Capt. Janet Slagle;

-Prevention officer of the year, Fire Marshal and Assistant Chief of Prevention Joe Kelley;

-Training officer of the year, Battalion Chief Luther Phillips;

-Rookie of the year, Austin Revelle;

-Chief’s Award, Company 7 retiree John Eskew; and

-The inaugural Charlie Rice Humanitarian Award, its namesake, retired Atlanta Battalion Chief and Henry County volunteer chief Charlie Rice.

Other honors included unit, lifesaving and years of service awards. [Click for More]