Police: Drones could be used again at more events

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- Summerville police officers say they won't rule out using new technology again to help monitor the threat of violence or criminal activity at high-profile events like last week's football game.

From the ground, Summerville police and Dorchester County Sheriff's deputies watched players, fans, and families at Friday's Green Wave football game. But law enforcement also took their attention to the air with the use of unmanned aerial systems commonly known as drones.

"We cherish the opportunity to showcase the abilities of our systems," said Andy McKitrick, co-owner of Mt. Pleasant-based Skyview Aerial Solutions.

He said Summerville Police contacted him about volunteering his services at the game.

"Basically what we were able to do is run circuits from the ticket booths out to these remote areas by keeping in our central location," explained McKitrick.

Infrared cameras mounted on his drones provided thermal imaging of the field, the stands, and the parking lot. The video was taken as the devices flew over areas difficult for police to see. McKitrick controlled the drones as they canvassed the air with law enforcement standing nearby.

"And usually there was some sort of deputy or officer near us that we could communicate to if we saw something out of the ordinary," said McKitrick.

Police say there was no criminal activity at the game. They credit proper planning and the use of drones in keeping the event safe. McKitrick says fans shouldn't worry about them because they're just an extra tool for security high in the sky at a high-profile event.

"Hopefully they do realize that their privacy or liberties weren't at risk," said McKitrick.

Summerville Police tell ABC News 4 the drones were helpful. They might use them again at other important events in the future.

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