BOTHELL, Wash. (August 17, 2021) — Lee County Sheriff’s Office in Fort Myers, Fla. has officially become the first law enforcement agency in the nation to own a Dragonfish, an advanced fixed-wing drone that officials say will revolutionize the way they respond to calls.
Developed by Autel Robotics, the Dragonfish has a unique tilt rotor design that allows it to takeoff and land vertically, enabling deputies to deploy it from anywhere within 10 seconds and stream footage back to their Real Time Intelligence Center immediately.
Officials from the Sheriff’s Office said they were primarily drawn to the Dragonfish because of its two-hour flight time, which far outmatches the 20-minute flight time allotted by most of the other drones in its fleet. The longer flight capability will enable operators to use the Dragonfish to locate missing persons and track wanted subjects in place of a helicopter, minimizing the demand on the agency’s Aviation Unit and allowing more calls to be handled simultaneously.
“The ability to fly our chopper for one call and launch the Dragonfish for another allows us to provide a higher level of service to the citizens of Lee County,” said Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno. “Every time we can increase the number of calls we answer at a time, we’re helping save lives.”
Unlike the other drones in the Sheriff’s Office’s fleet, the Dragonfish also has a top speed of 67 mph and can fly up to 18 miles away from the operator. The unit is also equipped with a 4K optical zoom lens and an infrared camera, which will provide a crucial advantage when responding to calls at night.
“As sheriff, my goal is to bring the latest and greatest technology to this agency,” said Marceno. “The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is proud to be the first law enforcement agency to use the Dragonfish in our day-to-day operations.”