Hoover Police credit drone use in escaped inmate capture

Drone used to catch inmate

Hoover, Ala. (WBRC) - Hoover police deployed new technology to the department in a search for an escaped inmate - and it helped make an arrest within 10 minutes.

The call had gone in to prepare the county helicopter as multiple agencies searched for John Gillespie. In the meantime, they deployed a smaller set of wings.

“He had a bird’s eye view of where the suspect was and the suspect had no clue the drone was in the air. So, our officer was able to communicate with the officers on the ground on where to go,” said Lt. Keith Czeskleba.

And within minutes, the search was over.

“Things we’re doing today, we weren’t doing 2-3 years ago and it shows how quickly we were able to apprehend someone that obviously needed to be apprehended," said Chief Nicholas Derzis, "This guy does not need to be walking around with us, so we’re happy.”

Hoover Police say this is the first time they’ve used a drone in a search operation like this and this particular drone was purchased back in March.

“Getting it done today - as quickly as we did - paid for itself,” said Chief Derzis.

Chief Derzis says the drone used in Monday’s search is capable of flying at night and in rainy conditions. The department typically uses drones to get aerial views of crime scenes or fires, but plan to use them for more searches.

Police have about five drones with the department. They try to have at least one person on duty who is certified to operate the drone.

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