Deputy Police Chief David DeLeshe (left) and McCook Mayor Terrance Carr said the new drone will help investigate crimes. It can also be used to find hot spots in fires. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Deputy Police Chief David DeLeshe (left) and McCook Mayor Terrance Carr said the new drone will help investigate crimes. It can also be used to find hot spots in fires. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Drone takes McCook crime fighting to new level

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By Steve Metsch

The McCook Police Department has a new weapon to fight crime.

A new drone equipped with an infrared camera and the ability to zoom in 200 times was at the village’s latest board meeting on Jan. 17.

dvn mccook police drones1

The newest member of the McCook Police Department is this drone.

The village used part of a $50,000 grant from the Secretary of State’s office to pay for the drone, said Deputy Police Chief David DeLeshe.

A utility task vehicle or UTV and computers were also purchased with the grant, but the drone takes crime fighting to a new level.

“This drone is 10 times better than the one we have,” DeLeshe told the board. “It will be a great asset to the village.”

After the meeting, DeLeshe and Mayor Terrance Carr discussed what makes the drone a great asset.

“The latest technology. Our other drone did not have the zoom. This one has 200 times zoon. It has the latest infrared capabilities, the highest resolution, which is the main tool we use,” DeLeshe said.

That comes in especially handy at night, perhaps when looking for a suspected criminal hiding in a wooded area.

“It picks up any heat. Any people. We can use it on fires, too. Put it up, see any hot spots,” said DeLeshe who is also the fire chief.

“It’s unbelievable. We’ve had it up a couple of times,” DeLeshe said.

The drone also has a following ability. With the push of a button on the control panel, it will follow a targeted subject, be it a person or, vehicle.

Carr said the first time the drome was tested, it was able to follow a vehicle from the floor of the Vulcan Quarry down 47th Street and down First Avenue to the Stevenson Expressway.

“I said, ‘Alright, that’s enough, bring it back.’ It locks on an image and it goes,” Carr said.

The drone even stopped and hovered high overhead when the vehicle stopped at a red light, Carr said.

The six-seat UTV is another needed tool that will allow police to get where regular cars can’t, DeLeshe said.

The village board had approved accepting the $50,000 grant from the state at its Oct. 17 meeting. The board’s next meeting is at 6 p.m. Feb. 6.

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