Over the summer there was some slightly worrying news from North Dakota, with the announcement that armed police drones had been legalized. And while that doesn't mean killer drones are necessarily in development, one police department over in Illinois has decided to make the most of the emerging technology.
Back in November, the Orland Park Police Department received permission from the FAA to training with the DJI Phantom III drone, and officers are expected to pass FAA pilot's tests imminently.
Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy said he sees the department drone helping out in cases where large areas of ground need to be covered quickly, such as in searches for missing children or senior citizens.
Alternative uses would be in the case of a man-made or natural disasters, shooter situations and traffic accidents - any occasion when a clear perspective from a distance might come in handy.
The move of drones into law enforcement comes as little surprise to those who know of their potential. Small, relatively easy to fly and capable of shooting high quality aerial imagery, drones offer a cheaper, safer alternative to helicopters, as well as being much quieter and more manoeuvrable - two things which should be useful in quickly changing police situations.
Just in case you're reading this Chief McCarthy, you guys could probably do with giving Airnest a spin at some point - Why not try out our app?