New technology aids departments in missing person searches

The Youngstown Police Department has been using a drone program in its searches since December

Last week, WKBN told you about several searches for missing persons, including one in Bazetta Township and another in Ashtabula.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Last week, WKBN told you about several searches for missing persons, including one in Bazetta Township and another in Ashtabula.

Departments have been using and sharing new technology to help conduct these searches.

Last Thursday, Bazetta Township needed divers to search Mosquito Lake. But even though they have a boat, they didn’t have trained divers.

So, Trumbull and Summit counties both lent their assistance as part of a mutual aide agreement — and it’s happening more and more.

“There’s really no department in Trumbull County that has a dive team,” said Bazetta Fire Chief Dennis Lewis. “So the county sheriff’s department has taken that on.”

Along with the divers from outside counties, Bazetta also got help from the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department and its new technology.

“In the short time we’ve had this drone program, it’s blowing up pretty quick,” said Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene.

The sheriff’s office got the drone in December. The six-propeller flying machine gives something better than a birds eye view.

The drone has a camera with thermal imaging that sends live video to the pilot’s control panel. It’s like having a small helicopter.

“With a drone, you can fly underneath trees, you can fly really close to power lines and other hazardous areas,” said Andrew Turner, a drone pilot.

They’ve already flown it on several emergency situations this year. That number, they say, will get better as the technology continues to improve.

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