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Arlington police are testing small unmanned aircraft designed to take high-resolution video and photos of traffic accidents, hostage situations, pursuits of suspects and other emergency situations too dangerous to send personnel.
The city, working with the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Justice Department, is participating in a national evaluation program. Its data will help develop training and equipment standards for agencies that use the aircraft as crime-fighting tools
Both the Houston and Miami Dade police departments have also tested unmanned aircraft, and other cities have expressed an interest, FAA spokesman Les Dorr said. He added that his agency does not disclose who has applied, citing security and privacy reasons.
Arlington is leasing one of the devices, an 11-pound, 58-inch electric helicopter known as the Leptron Avenger, which can fly up to 40 mph. The Police Department was also granted two smaller Draganflyer X6 aircraft, and it may lease other remote-controlled devices that can cost $2,500 to $300,000, Bowman said.