In 2018, current GOP candidate for Somerset County Sheriff Tim Pino was in Florida on vacation with his family when they visited and toured the NASA facility. It was during that same week that SpaceX was launching a satellite and stunned onlookers when the solid rocket boosters that took the satellite into space returned to earth and landed back at the same exact spot on the launching pad upright. It was a lot different than the days of the past when the rocket boosters landed in the ocean and had to be recovered by the Navy.
Tim Pino, the retired Chief/ K9 Unit Commander of the Somerset County Sheriff Office, saw something that day that got his attention. With the ever-growing number of violent crimes happening around the country, Pino has been advocating for more Police K9's as a "proactive" visible deterrent to these crimes at schools and religious institutions. What if these specially trained Police K9's could also be launching pads for tactical drones. Yes, you heard that correct, Police K9's that can be used to be able to launch and land drones off of them!
After almost two years of discussing this state of the art idea with engineers and SWAT friends, Pino arranged a launching test last week at a private location. What onlookers saw was an off lead patrol dog doing a mock field search for an armed suspect in which a Police K9 on command "sat", and then "laid down" allowing a 'DJI Mavic Air' drone to launch off of a specially made harness as both continued searching for the suspect. Once located, the suspect surrendered to police and the drone then returned to the landing harness on the Police K9. On command, both returned safely back to K9 Unit Commander Pino.
"I felt like I was watching the movie Back to the Future" added 18-year-old Bridgewater resident Jacob Blumberg, one of the event's invitees." When I saw K9 DroneForce I felt like I was watching the future!" added Blumberg.
"When I entered this Sheriff primary race I promised state of the art protection for all of the residents of Somerset County. Unfortunately, we live in a society in which individuals want to do harm to us and our children. I have zero tolerance for these violent acts and my K9 DroneForce initiative will allow me to initiate a level of protection that has never been seen before. As far as we have researched, this was the first ever drone launch and landing off a Police K9 in the country! " added Pino.