Drones are being used in a variety of ways by a variety of agencies, organizations, schools and individuals – and it’s happening right here in Leavenworth County.
Leavenworth High School recently acquired a drone that can be used for such things as graduation and to create B-roll film footage for features about the school and facilities.
“We wanted to add more visuals and quality to our videos,” said senior Anthony Gist. “I had never flown one before. But I love playing with this.”
“The use and purpose of the drone will only grow,” said Catey Edwards, coordinator of public relations at Leavenworth High School.
Law enforcement officials also are beginning to use drones in numerous ways, said Maj. Dan Nicodemus of the Leavenworth Police Department.
The Leavenworth Police Department has two drones and is looking into acquiring a third.
“With an eye in the sky, you can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.”
Among many other assets, he said drones can help law enforcement personnel document evidence at major accidents and crime scenes.
Maj. Jim Sherley, undersheriff for the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office, said the agency will soon acquire and begin utilizing its own drone.
“We have realized the need as a local asset,” he said. “It has a lot of applications.”
He said the drone will assist the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office with such things as manhunts.
The Basehor-Linwood school district has two drones that are used in a variety of ways.
Alex Hirbe, technology integration specialist for the district, said teachers and district personnel use the drones for videos of sporting events, school activities and promotional footage.
“Using them in the classroom though can provide some unique opportunities too,” Hirbe said. “We teach about flight, drones in general and careers associated with drones.”
Hirbe said students benefit from the use of drones by “expanding their learning outside of the classroom.”
“Being able to experience drones first-hand can really change a students’ perspective,” he said. “Students can learn videography, physics, math and computer science all from the incorporation of a drone into their classroom teaching.”
Lansing High School has one drone that is used by students in a variety of ways, including at pep rallies and showcasing the exterior of the school and facilities.
“The students can use the drone for just about any project as long as they can justify its use,” said Kenneth Simmons, technology instructor at Lansing High School. “Students benefit from the drone much like they do any newer and more advanced technology we have to offer. It allows students the opportunity for hands-on experience with technology they typically don’t get to utilize. The more students learn how to use different technology, the easier it is for them to learn any kind of technology down the road.”
The University of Saint Mary used a drone to shoot video and photos of students marching into the university’s graduation ceremony last spring.
Area landowner Larry Martin said owners of large rural acreages can use drones to check for people trespassing on their property.
He said hunters have also been known to use drones to identify prime hunting locations.
Leavenworth resident Kyle Whelpley operated a drone last Saturday to shoot video and photos of the CASA Superhero Run.
He said that he is a recreational drone operator. He uses his drone to get aerial views of local events, church activities and rural scenes.
Drones vary in price depending on the features of the equipment, starting for about $150 and going into the thousands of dollars.
There are numerous rules and regulations about drone usage, including the height at which a drone can be flown.