AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - In about half the time it takes a helicopter to lift off, a drone was able to locate a shooting suspect on the run.
After 1 a.m. on January 5th, police say Malik Anthony Rashan Jackovich led Georgetown police on a car chase. Jackovich then crashed south of the San Gabriel River he jumped out of his car, shot at police and made a run for it.
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office assisted by using a drone’s thermal imaging to safely locate Jackovich hiding underneath the bridge. WilCo Commander Stephen Deaton said the technology has changed the way law enforcement approaches scenes.
"This happen to be the first time that we have an armed subject that was hiding, hiding in an area that a helicopter probably wouldn't been much benefit," Deaton said. "It's a game changer absolutely it'll save money if we can use less cops and more technology you know it costs the tax payers less."
The department has four drones costing about $12,000 dollars each paid for by drug money seized in Williamson County. "The tax payers didn't have to pay for it was paid for bad guys to catch bad guys," said Deaton. "There's always going to be a need for law enforcement people but if few can find a way to make a safe approach as possible it's better for the public and for us."
The drone assisted arrest is one of many ways the Williamson County Sheriff's Office has utilized the unmanned aircrafts including finding flood victims and missing people. "We've used them on SWAT callouts. I would much rather have a drone peeking into a window then one of my deputies we use them for any type of emergency event," Deaton said.
Jackovich was charged with aggravated assault against a public servant, evading arrest and possession of narcotics among several other charges with bonds totaling $375,000 dollars.