North Dakota Sheriffs Use UAS to Monitor Crime Scenes

16 North Dakota counties will soon use two small unmanned aircraft to monitor crime scenes and track suspects.

Coordinating the project — part research, part law enforcement — is Al Frazier, a Grand Forks deputy sheriff and an assistant professor at the University of North Dakota.

Sheriff’s deputies and police officers from the Grand Forks area have been training since last fall, Frazier said. ”I really think these are going to be situationally deployed over an incident,” Frazier said. “I don’t think they’re going to be used extensively for covert surveillance, so I see them more as a tactical resource rather than a strategic resource used for intelligence gathering.”

The small aircraft have some limitations. They can’t fly in high winds or low clouds. Operation usually requires two people — a pilot and a sensor operator to monitor the video.

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