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Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office drone team helps to nab suspect

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 4:26 PM CDT
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FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - Fond du Lac County deputies arrest a man following a manhunt Sunday morning that started on Hwy 23 near 151. The department’s drone team played an integral role in the man’s arrest.

Drone footage from Sunday’s search captures two Fond du Lac County sheriff’s deputies closing in on a man as they investigated claims the man was following and harassing a woman. He was not only wanted on warrants but also for running from authorities. His apprehension ended a nearly three-hour manhunt through rugged, ledged terrain.

RELATED: 1 arrested following foot chase in Fond du Lac County

According to Sheriff Ryan Waldschmidt, “When he was taken into custody, he said basically two things: ‘I’m out of steam. I don’t have any more energy to continue to run,’ and, ‘I know there’s a drone above me, and I can’t outrun the drone.’”

Sgt. Alex Volm, one of six drone pilots on the Fond du Lac County team, was piloting when the suspect was found. He says, “There were a few times where I was finding deer either out in the field or a wooded area, and I’d have to get close and zoom in, and your heart starts racing a little more and you’re like, OK, is this him or is this a deer? But then eventually I was able to see him, and just by his movements I picked him up probably from about a hundred yards away.”

The drone not only helped to locate the suspect but it also protected the deputies who were chasing him, allowing a bird’s-eye view of the situation so the deputies could be directed on exactly where to go and where the man was trying to hide.

“In this case yesterday, without the drone deputies have to be watching all around them, watching their surroundings, not sure if the suspect is 10 yards away, a hundred yards away, 500 yards away. In the past, without a drone, you have to take every step searching a wooded area like that or a creekbed very carefully,” adds Sheriff Waldschmidt.

Sunday wasn’t the first time the drone team, launched this past winter, has responded to an incident, and it won’t be the last. The sheriff anticipates using the drone in a variety of situations moving forward, saying, “It opens a whole new avenue for a lot of our special teams as an enhancement to their capabilities.”

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