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Press Release

Hamilton County UAS Team Unveils New Command Vehicle


Hamilton County, TN – Earlier this afternoon, the Hamilton County Unmanned Aerial Systems Team, comprised of personnel from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and Hamilton County Emergency Management, unveiled their new joint Unmanned Aerial Systems Command Vehicle (UCV) to members of the media on Wednesday, November 16, 2022 at McDonald Farm in Sale Creek, Tennessee.

The new UAS Command Vehicle, representing a combined capital investment of over $168,000 between both the HCSO and HCEMA, will allow drone pilots the ability to work from multiple workstations in a controlled environment. This state-of-the-art, purpose-built vehicle is designed to provide internet capabilities necessary to operate all equipment and software and is powered by an onboard inverter system that provides the vehicle with self-sustaining power.

“Since its implementation in 2016, the Hamilton County UAS Team has proven to be an invaluable asset assisting law enforcement and search and rescue efforts throughout our community and our region. This new command vehicle represents a significant investment in our county’s UAS capabilities and furthers our commitment to using drone technology to respond more quickly to a variety of incidents and threats. This is especially important in search and rescue operations when time is critical,” stated Sheriff Austin Garrett.

Due to our local terrain, UAS pilots often operate in a decreased or intermittent signal strength environment. The new UCV is equipped with a 15-foot mast, improving connectivity with the aircraft, thus allowing pilots to fly further and safer than before. The UCV is equipped with a large viewing station at the rear of the vehicle for administrators to observe live footage of missions for critical decision making. Additionally, this command center will allow pilots to operate in a safer, distraction free environment.

“The addition of this new cutting-edge technology located in a mobile vehicle, will allow the drone team to provide advanced aerial search along with other enhanced safety related missions,” stated Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency Director, Chris Adams.

The UCV allows viewing of current and past flights, streaming live flights, and processing imagery on-scene all awhile continuing ongoing missions. Running multiple operational functions simultaneously is vital to the Hamilton County UAS team serving the citizens of Hamilton County. 

Since its conception in 2016, the flight call volume for the UAS Team has increased year to year. In 2022 to date, the UAS Team has flown over 668 flights, traveled approximately (475) miles, and spent over (106) hours in the air conducting various operational missions. These missions have included (56) search and rescue missions, (14) crime scene investigations, (13) mapping flights, (25) tactical support flights, (23) felony apprehensions, and supported other agencies (86) times. Despite public misconceptions, the majority of our teams’ missions are looking for dangerous suspects, missing or lost individuals, and mapping incident scenes.

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Phone: (423) 209-7000