KPD seeks unmanned aircraft for search, rescue


Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch on Thursday talked briefly with Knoxville City Council as officials picked through the upcoming fiscal year’s spending plan.

Few questions were asked, but some city leaders were particularly interested in a $33,500 “unmanned aerial vehicle.”

Joking that drones have warheads – “and these certainly do not” – the chief said the device would be crucial in search and rescue operations.

“We have a lot of dense areas around where young people get lost, as well as our seniors,” Rausch said. “We have to be able to get through that area quickly for their safety.”

He noted that “state law clearly says how and when it can be used,” and that it also will come in handy when searching for fugitives.

Council members, who are expected to sign off on Mayor Madeline Rogero’s $289.6 million budget for a second and final time next Tuesday, appeared to approve.

City spokesman Jesse Mayshark said officials have not selected a model yet, telling WBIR 10News that it will go through a bid process to determine the vendor.