Effective August 1, 2020, New Minnesota Statute Section 626.19 and amended Minnesota Statutes Sections 13.82 established guidelines for the use of the “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle" or “UAV" and all the storage, retrieval and dissemination of images and data captured by the UAV
The Dakota County Sheriff's Office has had a drone program and policy since 2017. We currently have 14 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) trained pilots. In addition, we have 35 Deputies/Sergeants that have taken the Visual Observer training and can assist the pilots with any flight. We currently have five aircraft, all having visual and/or Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) capabilities. Over the past four years, our pilots have completed their mandatory flight training hours. We have used drones throughout the county and metro to assist with finding missing persons or search for wanted suspects. They are also utilized to prevent the loss of life and property in natural or man-made disasters and document fatal vehicle crash scenes as well as complex crime scenes.
The new law requires that our office provide an opportunity for public comment before purchasing or using a UAV. These comments must be accepted electronically or by mail.
The Sheriff's Office's Drone Policy and Procedure is posted at https://www.co.dakota.mn.us/Government/Sheriff.
There are two opportunities outlined below to submit comments by mail or email.
Dakota County Sheriff's Office
Attention: UAV Policy
1580 Highway 55, Hastings, MN 55033
All public comments must be received on or before October 2, 2020 to be considered prior to finalization of the drone policy.