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Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Progam  


 Livingston and Hill UAV Pic
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The Mesa County Sheriff's Office Unmanned Aerial System Team Information Page

Pictured Right: Deputy Josh Livingston and Deputy Amanda Hill with our Draganflyer X6 UAV.


The Sheriff's Office obtained the 2 pound Draganflyer X6 unmanned helicopter through a mutual agreement with Draganfly Innovations Inc. in the fall of 2009, for free. This unique partnership allowed us to navigate the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) process and test the potential law enforcement capabilities without extensive financial costs. At the time, the UAV programs in law enforcement across the Country were less than five agencies, so this was really a pilot program for us. After nearly twelve months of working with the FAA to gain approval for a COA--Certificate of Authorization, we tested the Draganflyer X6 in a one square mile area at our County Landfill (per the restrictions of the FAA/COA).  The Draganflyer X6 flies for about 15 minutes and carries a still camera, a color video camera or an Infrared camera.  All providing realtime viewing on the ground by the pilot.

By the fall of 2010, we had modified our COA agreement with the FAA to allow us to fly our UAV system anywhere in Mesa County, Colorado, during daytime hours. This greatly extended our testing ability, as well as allowed us to use these systems operationally, and we were able to assist the Colorado State Patrol with fatality crashes (aerial photos), the Grand Junction Fire Department with the White Hall fire (hot spot sensing and aerial photos), suspect apprehenssion and more.

In January 2012, we tested a fixed wing UAV product--the Falcon UAV. This product was the result of a partnership with a Colorado company, Falcon UAV, who ultimately only charged us for the materials to make the system. The Falcon has a much longer flight time (1hr) and we see potential in using it for search and rescue missions, wildland fire monitoring and broad area suspect searches.

To date our program has flown more than 35 missions with a combined 160 flight hours. We are beginning to implement UAS into day to day operations.  It appears, at this time, that this new tehcnology will work with law enforcement similar to a K-9 unit in that we are training current staff to operate these systems and allow them to carry the equipment in the back of their patrol car, not requiring the addition of new staff.  Each pilot then shares the patrol car, UAV included.

Frequently Asked Questions 

 Search & Seizure Article by Aviation Attorney Tim Adelman  

 Contact our UAV Program staff   

(*Please review the FAQ section first*)

UAS Program Director, Ben Miller 

Public Information Officer, Heather Benjamin 


Other UAV Useful Sites 


Falcon being launched by Deputy Norris


Falcon in flight

Deputy Danny Norris launching the Falcon off his shoulder during a test run at Mary's Loop trailhead.

Falcon fixed wing UAV flying over the biking trail system near Fruita, Colorado.

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