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Drones helping Harris County Constable’s deputies track down criminals

HOUSTON – The Harris County Precinct 5 Constable’s Office has taken crime fighting high-tech with the use of drones which is giving officers an eye in the sky and helping them track down criminals.

“It made sense to be able to increase our technology to better enhance our ability to fight crime,” said Constable Ted Heap.

The department has two drones, called Goose and Maverick from the movie Top Gun by residents of Precinct 5. Each cost the department about $25,000.

“This is a drone that has three cameras on it. One of the cameras is a high-resolution camera. The other one has 180 zoom capability with an infrared technology and the third one is actually thermal," Heap said.

It was that thermal technology on Maverick that helped deputies track down three suspects who fled from a stolen car, after a brief chase during a stop on Jan. 4.

“We put the drone up in the air and the beauty to this is when you start talking about officers’ safety. We were able to actually see these suspects — where they were laying against the fence, which end their head was on, if they were facing and had a visual,” Heap said.

Heap says these drones can do the work of 10 officers in a third of the time.

Goose and Maverick aren’t just chasing down criminals, they are also aiding deputies in search and rescue efforts during flooding and in the search for missing people.

“Goose and Maverick are watching so don’t think you’re going to get away with stuff because we do have an eye in the sky,” Heap said.