BURNETT COUNTY -- Sheriff Finch says that among the recent successes of their drone program that she believes the drone and subsequent program are responsible for saving two lives in one week, according to a press release from the Burnett County Sheriff's Office.

Press Release

The Burnett County Sheriff’s Office would like to make an announcement of some recent successes of our drone program.

First, a little history. We began the drone program with research, and fundraising by the Burnett County Citizen’s Auxiliary, approximately one year ago. During those initial phases we never dreamed of being where we are today. During COVID-19 the fundraising was difficult. We received some substantial donations from:

  • Yellow Lakes and River Association
  • Michael Maloney
  • Squirrels Unlimited
  • Wayne’s Foods
  • Burnett County Whitetails Unlimited
  • KJs Fresh Market
  • Bruce Branstad
  • Wild Bill’s Sporting Goods
  • Stan and Betty Peer
  • and many others who purchased the “We Support Law Enforcement” signs.

On March 4, 2021, Frandsen Bank got us over the threshold with our program. Frandsen Bank made a generous donation of a drone from Maverick Drones. We held a demonstration that day for the public at the Burnett County Government Center. Since that day we have been training and getting all proper certifications.

The other funds collected have been and will continue to be used for accessories and equipment for the drone.

Fast-forward to June of 2021. Our program is up and running with several operators available. Two call-outs came on June 13th for two different missing individuals. Deputy Patrick Carlson began operating the drone from the afternoon of the 13th through to the morning of the 14th. The second individual was located down an embankment that had been looked through several times prior. Deputy Carlson skillfully operated the drone using its heat sensing technology to locate the individual and get proper Emergency Medical Services to his aid. If Deputy Carlson had not been diligently operating the drone, it is likely that individual may have died of exposure.

On June 20th, one week later, Grantsburg Police Officer Joel Klatt was called from home to assist with a search for an individual who was in the woods and had a major medical condition. Officer Klatt also used the technology of the drone to locate that individual who was mere feet from where Deputies had looked. The individual was breathing, but unresponsive. Emergency Medical Services were transported to this remote location to provide care. This individual was also likely to die due to medical conditions if it were not for the expert operation of the drone by Officer Klatt.

We believe this drone and its program are responsible for saving two lives in one week.

We would like to put out a HUGE THANK YOU to all of our supporters, donors and operators! Without these people we would not have had these recent successes.

Of course we would also like to put out a special thanks to all of our local volunteer fire departments, ambulance personnel, first responders and citizens who helped these people to safety.


Sheriff Tracy Finch

Last Update: Jul 12, 2021 11:29 am CDT

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