MANSFIELD (CBSDFW.COM) – They’re battery operated, take flight in seconds and can save the lives of police officers. Now, one North Texas police department is using drones to fight and prevent crime.
The Mansfield Police Department held a live training exercise for officers Wednesday. Officials would not allow the actual drills to be recorded, but they used a wide-open field to test out what the drones can do in a real life emergencies.
Officer Moore’s partners on the job may not be what you’d expect — two drones. One unmanned aircraft is used for outside situations, like SWAT calls or missing person searches. The other can be used indoors; to go through buildings and other enclosed areas.
“Say, if we had a burglary suspect who ran into this field, we could see that suspect to know if they’re armed,” said Officer Moore.
Officials say the drones will increase officer safety, since they can see obscured dangers like bombs and concealed criminals. The drones can also drop off a radio or a phone to a suspect who won’t surrender during standoffs.
Officer Moore said, “We would be able to warn them if there’s somebody sticking their head out with a gun or something like that. We can give them that information and they’re able to receive that and stay safe.”
The drones not only help police officers, but also help save citizens.
“I have the ability to drop off life preservers to people who might be stranded on the hood of a car – of a tree,” said Officer Moore.
The Mansfield Police Department got the $17,000 drones and new equipment six months ago.
Officer Moore said around a dozen North Texas police departments have drones or are working to get them.
He also addressed the public’s concerns of unwarranted surveillance.
“I can’t just say, ‘I’m going to fly in this neighborhood.’ We have to have a mission we’re flying on,” said Officer Moore. “And we have to report that mission to the FAA, which gives us permission to fly.”
Officers can also watch real time footage from the drones at a command post.
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