The Oneida County Sheriff's Office unveiled its new Unmanned Aircraft System Unit at Griffiss International Airport in Rome on Wednesday.

Sheriff Rob Maciol says the UAS Unit will be used to enhance public safety in and around the county and protect the lives and property of citizens and first responders.

Maciol says the Sheriff's UAS Unit can support any first responder in many types of hazardous incidents that would benefit from an aerial perspective.

The UAS would also be used in assisting incident commanders with decision making, locating missing persons, search and rescue operations and clearing buildings that may be too dangerous for personnel to enter.

He says the unit will never be used to invade a person's reasonable expectation of privacy.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente and Oneida County Aviation Commissioner Chad Lawrence for their support and assistance from the time that this was just an idea up until today when that idea became a reality", said  Maciol. "I would also like to thank Chief Deputy Jon Owens and the other members of this unit for their hard work and commitment as this unit was being developed".

Five members of the Sheriff's Office are assigned to the UAS unit, which is equipped with eight drones.

They're all fully trained and each possess FAA certifications for their Remote Pilot's License.

The Sheriff's Office UAS Unit will be available to respond 24 hours a day at the request of any public safety agency.

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