Arlington PD Putting Eye in the Sky

Arlington only city with FAA license to fly unmanned craft over urban area.

By Susy Solis
|  Thursday, May 5, 2011  |  Updated 9:01 AM CDT
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Arlington police got a grant from the FAA to fly unmanned aircraft, like the one purchased for the Super Bowl, over urban areas.

Susy Solis, NBCDFW.com

Arlington police got a grant from the FAA to fly unmanned aircraft, like the one purchased for the Super Bowl, over urban areas.

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An unmanned drone may soon help Arlington police provide a watchful eye over the city.

Grant money from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security brought the city's first unmanned drone for the Super Bowl, but Arlington hopes to put it to use full time.

Arlington is the only U.S. city to have been granted a license from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly unmanned aircraft over an urban area.

"The idea is provide an extra level of public safety for the city of Arlington," City Councilman Robert Rivera said. "Anytime that we can utilize progressive methods to increase our level of public safety, that's what we're doing and that's what we're looking at."

But the use of such drones has raised questions about privacy across the country.

"I fully support using them," Mayor Robert Cluck said. "The police chief thinks they will be a huge advancement in public safety that will allow officers to view the entire city through aerial surveillance."

"With terrorist attacks and everything else going on, I don't think it's a bad idea," said Arlington resident Eric Vandervoort, who lives near Cowboys Stadium.

The drone could be used to help traffic-crash investigations and search-and-rescue missions.

The city is looking into finding funding to operate the drone, Cluck said.

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