Public Safety
1:30 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Drones may help patrol Lebanon prisons

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is considering the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to help patrol the grounds surrounding two Warren County prisons.

In a release, the state says:

"UAS technology could add an additional layer of security to help maintain the safety of the surrounding community and the prisons by bolstering existing perimeter security, preventing and detecting attempts of contraband entering the prison, and enhancing the monitoring of inmates who are approved to work outside the secure perimeter of the prison. "

If approved, a testing phase would begin at the Lebanon Correctional Institute and the Warren Correctional Institute in late August or early September.

The UAS could come in one of three forms:

  1. Tethered helium balloon
  2. Quad-copter
  3. Fixed-wing

“The safety of the community and security of our prisons is our number one priority,” said Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) Director Gary Mohr.  “We are conducting an operational assessment to determine if investing in this technology will enhance existing security measures in place at these facilities.”

Ohio stresses UAS would not replace guards.

A 30-day public comment period is now open. Public comments are welcome by email DRC.UAS@odrc.state.oh.us or phone 513-932-1211 extension 2121