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Lee’s Summit police receive grant to buy drones and help keep officers safe

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- A metro police department has gotten a high-tech upgrade to put eyes in the sky, and it's all in an effort to keep officers and you safe.

The Lee's Summit Police Department is getting into the business of drones. A metro organization called HeroFundUSA just awarded the department a $5,000 grant to purchase several drones.

"A drone can hover outside of a window and look in and see what`s going on. The drone is in harms way and an officer isn`t," said Darrell Smith, CEO of HeroFundUSA.

Lee's Summit police said it usually has to borrow a helicopter from Kansas City police when it's needed. But now it will be able to use drones instead. They cost about 1 percent of the cost of a helicopter or plane.

"It lets us get into the world of aviation," Lee's Summit Police Sgt. Chris Depue said. "There's an entirely different perspective up there without having to make that huge investment that no one can really afford."

Right now, two Lee's Summit officers are licensed drone pilots, but the department plans to have a total of seven.

Officers said the drones will provide new ways to investigate crimes while keeping officers and other first-responders safe.

Smith said that's the whole point of HeroFundUSA.

"Anything that will provide greater protection and greater preparation to stay out of harms way and get to go home to their family at night -- we've accomplished our mission," he said.

The department expects to use the drones several times a week in different types of investigations.

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