VIDEO: Roane County drone helps make arrest

Joseph Waldo was arrested by drone technology after evading law enforcement with active warrants.
Joseph Waldo was arrested by drone technology after evading law enforcement with active warrants.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 10:23 PM EDT
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ROANE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - For the last four years, the Roane County Sheriff’s Department has had the capability of being able to put a drone in the sky to help with investigations, which recently paid off in the search of a man evading law enforcement.

Joseph Waldo, who had multiple active warrants including one for criminal trespassing, was spotted by Chief Deputy Tim Hawn walking quickly and suspiciously away from the county courthouse.

After a quick search with no results, they put their drone named “Shadow” in the sky and quickly found Waldo hiding between nearby buildings.

“I mean, it actually was a pretty good spot. Where he went to and disappeared, you wouldn’t think to go to access that area. It was in between buildings about the bird’s eye view got him,” said Hawn.

Without the drone and its infrared capabilities, Hawn said they may not have ever found Waldo. For the last two years, the drones used by the department have had infrared capabilities, which allowed them, in this case, to spot Waldo through the tall and thick grass he was laying down in.

Hawn said they often use the drone to help with people they’re searching for, active barricade situations and other times when they’re just trying to help those who might have gotten lost.

“What we’re using it the majority for is hunting people that have wandered off from their residence,” said Hawn.

The drone has been a tool the department has used over the last few years that they’re very proud of as they try to make sure they’re staying up to date with all the latest technology.

“I’ve been doing this for 33 years, and it changes all the time, and if you don’t change with it, you’re going to be left behind,” said Hawn.

Waldo was arrested after being tracked down by the drone without any further incident.