The Saratoga Sun -

HF Sinclair steps up to fund drones

Homelad Security declines to fund drone for CCEM and Encampment


August 18, 2022

From L to R: Gary Stull, Kevin Shue, Shannon Fagan, Ryan Wells, Greg Salisbury, Lenny Layman, Sue Jones, Banach.

When Lenny Layman, Carbon County Emergency Manager, and Encampment Chief of Police, Kevin Shue, discussed getting a drone for Encampment as well as one for the CCEM office, they turned to Homeland Security for the funds. After months of waiting for an answer, the answer that was finally given was Homeland Security would not fund drones.

Layman took their need for funds to Ryan Wells, HF Sinclair's Fire Chief. Wells was able to secure the funds from HF Sinclair Corporate to purchase two drones.

A check for $15,000 was presented to Layman at the Encampment Town Hall meeting on August 11, 2022.

Layman will purchase the drones and once they have been processed through the Carbon County Emergency Operations Center. One drone will be taken out of the county's inventory and released to the Encampment Police Department.

The need for a drone came to light after an incident last year when a potentially armed subject fled from his vehicle on foot.

The suspect had been pursued by law enforcement, from Colorado to Encampment, for two drive by shootings in Denver. A manhunt began

The Town of Encampment issued a shelter-in-place order and the schools were closed. After 14 hours, the subject stole a vehicle and was subdued near I-80 and Hwy 789.

According to Layman and Shue, this incident brought to light several deficiencies.

Training can address some issues, but the need to be able to cover a large area with limited manpower in the darkness was requires a different solution.

Layman stated in his proposal, that an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), with thermal imaging capabilities and trained pilots will greatly eliminate deficiencies.

Other areas that a drone would be invaluable include: search and rescue, checking infrastructure such as water treatment plants or dams, wildfire and structure hot spots.

The drone can be fully operational at night, during full sun, high wind, extreme moisture and heavy snowfall and in temperatures up to 30 below zero.

Professional instructors will come to Carbon County for official on-site training. THe Carbon County Coordination Center will maintain official pilot training records. The UAV will be a valuable "deployable" resource not only for Carbon County, but for surrounding counties as well.


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