DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. - The Daytona Beach Shores Police Department has been using the newest weapon in its arsenal against crime since the beginning of the year.
The 5-pound, $4,000 addition to the team is an unmanned drone that can fly at 50 mph and zero in on a person clearly from a quarter mile away.
“The technology is moving so fast, I’m going to be able to put radar technology on this drone and we will be able to fly it at night,” Police Chief Stephan Dembinsky said. “And if somebody is missing (or) if we have a criminal running around the street, I can do this 24 hours a day.”
The department saw the potential in drone technology after one was used to surveil damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, Dembinsky said.
Police used the drone Monday to drop off a phone charger to a man investigators said was suicidal and had barricaded himself inside his home.
The drone allowed officers to continue negotiating with the man, Dembinsky said.
For people concerned about privacy issues associated with law enforcement using drones, Dembinsky said it will only be used within the confines of the law.
“I’m not going to use it to take anyone’s rights away, to surveil anyone without a warrant,” he said.
Eight of the department’s officers are being trained to use the drone.
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