Arlington police unveils unmanned helicopter - Dallas News |

Arlington police unveils unmanned helicopter

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Arlington police launched their new radio controlled helicopter program with a sneak peek for the media.

The department is trying to educate the public so that there are no misunderstandings about how they plan to use the helicopters.

Police purchased the two helicopters using federal grant money.

The helicopters are battery operated and in its agreement with the department, the FAA has outlined a list of restrictions.

The pilot has to be able to see the helicopter to operate it, so it cannot be flown long distances.

The batteries last about an hour and they can only be flown during daylight hours.

Police say the aircraft will be used in specific situations where officers need to see something from the sky.

"They'll never carry weapons. They won't be used for general surveillance of the community, nothing like that," said Sergeant Christopher Cox.

Police say they plan to use the helicopters in searches for missing people, and in natural disasters, like the tornadoes we had last year.

The department believes the helicopters will be useful in clearing highways more quickly following fatality accidents. Investigators will now be able to use photographs and video from the wreck to reconstruct the crash scene rather than block the road for hours.

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