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Drones help Harford County deputies capture home invasion suspects

Harford County deputies use drones to track down criminal suspects
Harford County deputies use drones to track down criminal suspects 02:39

BALTIMORE -- Harford County deputies used drone technology twice in a week to arrest home invasion suspects.  

Last Wednesday, around 5:53 a.m., officers were dispatched to the 200 block of Highland Road for a reported shooting.

When they arrived, they found a woman suffering from a gunshot wound to the lower body.

Just minutes later - officers deployed a drone, using it to locate the suspect. 

Deputies arrested the man who was hiding under a tree behind an apartment complex in the 300 block of Sunflower Drive. 

On April 13, around 11:13 p.m., deputies received a report of a home invasion and sexual assault in the 600 block of Crossgate Avenue in Edgewood. 

Again, deputies deployed a drone, which helped provide aerial support while a K9 unit tracked the suspect on the ground.

The officer with the K9 team spotted the suspect using a flashlight, prompting them to flee on foot.  

However, the drone operator tracked the suspect to a residence, relaying the information to the K9 team and allowing them to locate and arrest the suspect.

Deputies said the suspect had changed clothing and may not have been located without the use of the drone. 

"We anticipated that integrating drones into our patrol strategies would transform policing and enhance our abilities to keep our community safe," Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler said. "These two instances underscore the value of investing time, resources, and funds into this technology which resulted in the swift and safe apprehension of these suspects."

Drones are changing the way law enforcement tracks down suspects.  

The Harford County Sheriff's Office said its Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Unit uses 10 drones for patrol and investigative work.

"It makes you feel better," Bel Air resident Christopher Monti said. "Even at night, regardless of the situation, if they're on foot or not, they can track these people down." 

A video released by Howard County Police on Wednesday shows police tracking down a teen who allegedly stole a car before crashing it, and attempting to flee the scene. 

In July 2023, the Baltimore Police Department said it was considering using drones for surveillance and SWAT operations

"How many times has a cop chased somebody into the woods or whatever and been shot or tried to defend themselves and there's issues? It's scary," Monti said. "But with a drone, wow, these guys causing trouble are going to have to come up with something else."

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