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CCSO’s Sgt. Baker Named To New Drone Advisory Board

Collier County Sheriff's Office

Post Date:07/11/2019 3:00 PM


Baker James

Collier County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jim Baker has been named to a newly formed advisory board dedicated to supporting the use of drones for public safety missions.

Sgt. Baker joins 39 other leaders from law enforcement, fire rescue, emergency management, and other stakeholder agencies around the U.S. on the inaugural DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance Board of Advisors.

The DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance is a leading nonprofit program advocating for and supporting the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as drones, for public safety missions and disaster relief around the world.

“I congratulate Sgt. Baker on this appointment,” said Sheriff Kevin Rambosk. “Drone technology is an important tool for law enforcement and our agency continues to be a leader in shaping the future use of these devices to enhance public safety.”

The 40-person advisory board roster contains many of the most renowned names from the realm of public safety drones. Members will serve an initial term from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2020.

“We are extremely fortunate to have such high-caliber leaders willing to pitch in and support the DRONERESPONDERS mission,” said Chief Charles Werner, director of the DRONERESPONDERS program.  “This board of advisors will provide their specific expertise to help ensure that we are focusing on the proper goals and objectives to facilitate the use of UAS by public safety agencies.”

Sgt. Baker, who is assigned to the CCSO’s Bureau of Technical Services, developed the agency’s drone program. CCSO began using drones in 2015 and was the first law enforcement agency in Florida to be certified to use drones for law enforcement purposes.

Led by Sgt. Baker, CCSO developed the first policy of drone operation for an accredited law enforcement agency in Florida. The training program adopted by CCSO was one of the first developed to meet new FAA regulations and because of this, the agency now has multiple FAA certified drone pilots. CCSO also became one of the first agencies to receive FAA waivers for night flight and operational flight near airports.

Sgt. Baker also has been actively involved with assisting other law enforcement agencies with developing drone programs and policies. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has adopted CCSO’s training program. Other counties have reached out for direction in starting drone programs.

CCSO deployed drones following Hurricane Irma in 2017, the first major disaster in which drones were deployed locally. Sgt. Baker was one of three CCSO pilots flying drones for damage assessment in the aftermath of the storm.