Stephen Guido of Guido Self Storage in Natchez, Miss., has an unusual side job. Not only does he volunteer as a helicopter pilot with the Adams County, Miss., Sheriff’s Office (ACSO), Guido has just become certified as a drone pilot by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The ACSO received a certificate of authority from the FAA last week, making it the second law-enforcement jurisdiction in Mississippi to be licensed to operate drones for official business, according to the source. Guido will serve as drone pilot.
The sheriff’s office intends to use the unmanned aircraft, equipped with cameras, for search-and-rescue purposes or during instances when it wants to refrain from placing a deputy in danger, such as a scene with an active shooter, sheriff Travis Pattern told the source. It also plans to use drones over large crowds to get a better view of potential dangers.
Recent regulations issued by the FAA concerning drone operation made the certification necessary. “If you’re a hobbyist, you can fly a drone for your personal enjoyment, period,” Guido told the source. “Under the new rules, you cannot fly it to take pictures, you cannot use it in your business, and you cannot use it and charge for your services, unless you have what they call a certificate of authority from the FAA. We are operating under what they consider special use or public use.”
As part of the certification process, Guido will have to demonstrate his flying proficiency for the FAA. “We are going to set up a scenario of an active shooter. He [will be] in a car we can’t approach,” he said. “We will fly the drone in and look in the car [to] see if the subject has been neutralized.”
Under certification, the ACSO will be permitted to fly its DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone up to 400 feet high through April 3, 2018. After buying its first drone from Guido for $1, the ACSO is working to have a second aircraft donated, according to the source.
Guido Self Storage operates two facilities in Natchez. Its locations offer gated entry, perimeter fencing, onsite management, video cameras and wide aisles. Both facilities also carry moving and packing supplies.
- Adams County Sheriffâ€™s Office: Support Services
- Guido Self Storage: Website
- The Democrat: Adams County Sheriffâ€™s Office Certified to Use Drones for Law Enforcement