This report from the British Daily Express has been making the rounds online:
Yesterday, as a task force of 125 officers, some riding Snowcats in the rugged terrain, continued their search, it was revealed that Dorner has become the first human target for remotely-controlled airborne drones on US soil.
A senior police source said: “The thermal imaging cameras the drones use may be our only hope of finding him. On the ground, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.”
Asked directly if drones have already been deployed, Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz, who is jointly leading the task force, said: “We are using all the tools at our disposal.”
The use of drones was later confirmed by Customs and Border Patrol spokesman Ralph DeSio, who revealed agents have been prepared for Dorner to make a dash for the Mexican border since his rampage began.
He said: “This agency has been at the forefront of domestic use of drones by law enforcement. That’s all I can say at the moment.”
This is not the first time a military-grade surveillance UAV has been deployed on U.S. soil in pursuit of a U.S. citizen. It does appear to be one of the first cases, however, assuming no classified incidents. As noted last week, the use of drone aircraft was a hot topic during CIA nominee John Brennan’s confirmation hearing. It may be that this episode garners more persistent coverage given its direct implications for the American homeland. We will see.
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