The Hamilton County (OH) Sheriff’s Office is grounding its helicopters and replacing them with a fleet of drones.

“The drones are a fraction of the cost of a helicopter,” Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey told Hamilton County commissioners at a meeting last week. She went on to justify her decision to trade copters for drones.

“Helicopters are, right now, they’re becoming flying dinosaurs,” she continued. The sheriff says the choppers cost the county $3 million a year. Fifteen drones will cost $300,000 with virtually no annual maintenance.

The financial incentive for this decision is more than just operational costs: One of Hamilton County’s helicopters is due for about $300,000 worth of maintenance. The other was purchased about four years ago for $1.6 million; it’s actually increased in value, so they’re now going to be able to sell it for $2 million. They’ll make money on the deal, Local 10 reports.

Other advantages: Drones are quiet and won't escalate situations. They can be carried in cruisers and kept at stations, allowing faster response, and there is less likelihood of a catastrophic event.

But there are things drones can't do.

“They can’t carry personnel. They can’t deploy personnel, but they do make up for it in other ways,” Hamilton County Sheriff’s Cpl. Matthew McGourty said.

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