ATLANTA - A Gwinnett County Police officer’s life changed forever when the police helicopter he co-piloted crashed at Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville at the beginning of September.
Corporal Michael Duncan survived the crash, but was left paralyzed from the waist down. He is not letting the accident keep him from flying.
Cpl. Duncan is back in the air. Flying a drone inside Shepherd Center in Atlanta. That's where he is recovering from a spinal cord injury he suffered in the crash. Friends thought a drone would help. Not just in the physical recovery, but in his return to duty as well.
“I'm just in awe and I'm like this is perfect. This is what I need to stay in touch. I can get in the air and look around and feel like my old self again,” said Cpl. Duncan.
Cpl. Duncan is flying a DJI Spark. Friends in public safety chipped in along with Patriot Dronz Sales who provided the drone.
“It was very satisfying to be involved with helping Corporal Duncan out. When Officer Brad Isaacs came to me with the opportunity, I thought it was a great idea and told him I would help out in any way possible," said Travis Quimby, Patriot Dronzs Sales and Consulting.
Cpl. Duncan said he has a long recovery ahead.
“I'm doing very well. Big gains in the last week. Been here since September 11th, but Lately, have seen amazing gains from just being able to move around. It's, Monday, I had a great day and I was elated all day because I was able to do a transfer it was wonderful,” said Cpl. Duncan.
He's grateful to Shepherd Center not just for their incredible medical expertise but their supportive understanding of his passion for aviation. Allowing him to fly his drone here in the hospital gymnasium.
“I can't thank Shepherd enough, really the great service they have. Amazing people,” said Cpt. Duncan.
Public safety is turning to drones for a lot of tasks. Search and rescue, accident investigation just to name a few. Cpl. Duncan said flying a drone might be his future in law enforcement.
"Very excited about it. It's a very valuable tool. where They can use without any risk to human lives. And then obviously that's a big concern to me,” said Cpl. Duncan.