Request of Sheriff’s Drone to Search For Cattle Questioned

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BOONE, Iowa -- A Boone County Supervisor is defending claims he used county property for personal use. Last month, Chet Hollingshead asked the Sheriff's Office to deploy its drone to track down some loose cattle north of Ogden.

"I requested that in the name of public safety. We're near a busy road, I don't want my cattle hit and I don't think someone driving down the road wants to hit a calf. That could cause significant damage to a vehicle or even threaten someone's life," said Hollingshead.

During the search, the drone sustained $300 in damage. It was out of commission when deputies could have used to it locate three boys in custody who escaped from a bus and hid in a corn field near Madrid.

"If I see or hear anything, any wrongdoing, it's my job to remind people what the law says and that we all follow the law," said County Attorney Daniel Kolacia.

Kolacia sent out a letter reminding all department heads and staff about the county's no exceptions policy for using county property for personal use.

"I was not flying the drone. I asked a deputy to fly the drone and the sheriff's office said they would do this for anyone," said Hollingshead.

From now on, the Boone County Sheriff's Office says it will not use the drone to search for missing animals and livestock.

"At the time, my deputy that was using it deemed it a public safety issue and that has since been clarified and we will no longer be using it for that purpose, searching for animals or cattle in this case," said Boone County Chief Deputy Rick Lampe.

Hollingshead said he offered to pay for the damages. The decision of who is responsible is now in the hands of the Board of Supervisors.