September 19, 2022 |

You can run, but you can’t hide — at least not from the thermal sensors and night-vision cameras on two drones now in the hands of first responders.

Encampment Police Chief Kevin Shue and Carbon County Emergency Management Coordinator Lenny Laymen have been trying to launch a drone program for the last year. It was grounded for a time after federal grant money fell through. At the county commissioners meeting, H.F. Sinclair presented Carbon County with a check for $15,000 that will underwrite the cost of two drones and the accompanying pilot training.

Laymen told commissioners that with the private donation from the refinery, neither the town of Encampment or the county will have to provide matching funds as would have been required under the failed federal grant.

Pictured above: (Left to right) Commissioner Travis Moore, Commissioner John Espy, Commissioner John Johnson, Commissioner Sue Jones, HF Sinclair Fire Chief Ryan Wells, County Emergency Manager Lenny Layman, Commissioner Byron Barkhurst, and Encampment Police Chief Kevin Shue. Photo by Bigfoot 99.

Laymen said the drone program is the brainchild of Chief Shue of Encampment. The chief said the need for drones became apparent during the manhunt for fugitive out of Denver last year. The chief told commissioners the drones can be used for all kinds of emergencies.

One of the drones will be stationed in Encampment, the other in Rawlins. Several first responders and refinery employees will be trained as pilots on the drones and be available for emergency missions when needed.

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