FDL Area Foundation Awards $15,000 Grant To Sheriff’s Office

The Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded a $15,000 Impact Grant from the Fond du Lac Area Foundation.

The grant will allow the sheriff’s office to purchase a new drone, expanding their fleet to two units for search and rescue missions. Additionally, the grant will fund enhancement capabilities for both the new and existing drones, including spotlights for nighttime searching and a payload delivery system to distribute items such as flotation devices, tourniquets, cell phones, and other life-saving items to victims in critical incidents.

Fond du Lac County Sheriff Ryan Waldschmidt said, “We are very thankful for the support the Fond du Lac Area Foundation provides our Sheriff’s Office through enhancements to our capabilities, which ultimately makes our community safer. Our Drone Team has been in service for almost one year, and this technology has proven to be one of the most significant technological enhancements we have implemented in many years. The value it adds by increasing officer safety during searches for suspects, enhancing community safety during search and rescue missions, and increasing our ability to capture aerial photographic evidence of crime and crash scenes is immeasurable.”  

The new drone will bring the sheriff’s office total drone fleet to three – one small, indoor unit used to conduct searches of buildings during high-risk tactical situations and now two large, outdoor units used for search and rescue and tactical missions.

The outdoor drones will be outfitted with the latest payload delivery systems. The systems will be attached to the drones so the pilot may deliver urgent items, such as a personal floatation device to a person in water, medical supplies to an injured victim needing treatment, water and/or food to a victim lost in a remote location, and other items as needed based on the circumstances. Additional technology will include high-powered search lights illuminating a 60’ diameter area on the ground from 200’ in the air.

The purchase of a second outdoor drone will provide the sheriff’s office with numerous advantages. First, the ability to maintain continuous flight during a mission so that at any given time at least one drone remains airborne while the other lands for battery replacement. Second, deputies will be able to search areas twice as fast, covering double the territory that one drone typically covers during a search. Dual outdoor drones will create the ability to monitor tactical situations from two different angles, which can maximize officer and citizen safety.

“We are honored to help expand the capabilities of the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office Drone Team. At the Foundation, we support not only the needs of the community, but also enhance the strengths. This is certainly an opportunity where we can utilize our Impact Grant Cycle to make a significant impact,” said Joe Braun, executive director of the Fond du Lac Area Foundation.