Special to 1812Blockhouse

North Central State College students will soon find out what it takes to catch a criminal from 400 feet in the air with the launch of a new Drone Program.

North Central State College (NCSC) and the NC State Foundation, with a lead gift from Craig Smith Chevrolet and Craig Smith RV, are launching a new Commercial Drone program for 2024.

A demonstration was held on Monday, December 11 at the RV Center in Galion. The new program will combine online coursework and in-person training to prepare students to take the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Small UAS Rule (Part 107) licensure test.

Chris Copper, VP of the NCSC Foundation says, “This is a very exciting day for our college.  This program is a direct result of a need in our community and interest from our students.”

Brent Smith of Craig Smith RV says, “We have been a victim of theft here many times from people stealing everything from TVs to catalytic converters. With the use of drones, police can launch it from the station and have it over to our business in a minute or two.”

He continues, “Sponsoring the program was a no-brainer for us because of all the ways it could help.  We are very grateful for the opportunity.”

Drones can assist safety forces and first responders throughout the community.  Drones can be used by police and fire personnel.  Galion police officer John Wallis will be instructing students for the program.  Wallis says, “This is the first step in a very advanced field.  I am just one of what will be five operators in the Galion police department. We are hoping to eventually offer services to not only Galion but all of Crawford, Richland, and Morrow counties.”

The North Central State College Foundation surveyed multiple county-wide police and fire departments, with 60% saying they do not have the resources or anyone trained to pilot a drone.

“This drone will assist us with suspect apprehensions,” Officer Wallis explains.  “The infrared on the drone has the capability to assist when there are large fires, high-speed pursuits and establish perimeters for the SWAT team to keep the lives of those wearing a badge safer.”

Funds for this new program are being generated through donations from area donors and training will be done through NCSC.  Funding is available for the first 10 students who enroll in the program.

To find out more information go to https://ncstatecollege.edu/workforce-development-drone/.

Source, Image: NCSC

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