A drone in Myrtle?

Let’s get right to the point: We don’t think the police department in Myrtle needs a drone.

We were surprised to see in an item in the Gazette last week that the Town of Myrtle had decided to use $3,000 in federal tax money to purchase an unmanned aerial vehicle.

These are not the kind of drones the CIA and the military use to rub out foreign militants. These are smaller gadgets similar to a very large model airplane that can be flown around using a computer.

Plans for the drone include any potential searches for missing children or elderly citizens, Myrtle officials say.

Police Chief Jim White said the department originally applied for the money to purchase body cameras for officers, but by the time the money came through the city already had gotten another federal grant to purchase the cameras.

“They didn’t want the money back, and we didn’t have anything else we needed to purchase that fell within the requirements,” he said.

We’re not going to get into the issue of whether Myrtle police need body cameras. But we’re pretty confident Myrtle doesn’t need a drone.

Our local governments need to exercise fiscal restraint and common sense with tax money, whether it comes from local taxes, state taxes or federal taxes.

Somebody should have shot down the drone idea. It’s a waste.

  • The drone would actually be a very good purchase for the department. Not only do they help keep officers safe in dangerous situations — they have the ability to get over a potentially dangerous situation while allowing the officers to be in a safe location — but, as you noted, they can also be used in missing person searches. I have volunteered with Texas EquuSearch (a missing person search group) and the drones are a key tool that they have used to locate many missing individuals. The cost in this case — $3,000 — is very small for the peace of mind that comes with it. And, in the event your loved one ever goes missing, you’ll be glad they purchased it.