Tactic employed since ground search is 'like looking for a needle in a haystack'
CONFIRMED: Customs and Border Patrol verifies use of drones in hunt for allegedcop-killer
London's Daily Express on Monday was the first to report the deployment of the drones over the snow-capped San Bernardino Mountains in California, where suspectedcop-killer Christopher Dorner is believed to be holed up. Customs and Border Patrol spokesman Ralph DeSio confirmed the report, which allegedly makes Dorner the first human target for remotely controlled drones on U.S. soil, the Express said.
The manhunt continues into Day 4 for Dorner, the former LAPD officer and Navy lieutenant who has allegedly killed three people and wounded one other during his rampage. Los Angeles Police have offered a $1 million reward — the largest ever offered in L.A. — for information leading to Dorner's arrest.
"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," a senior police source said.
Not the first human target?
According to a Los Angeles Times report in 2011, a North Dakota county sheriff used a Predator B drone to find three armed men under suspicion for stealing six cows. With the help of sophisticated sensors under the nose of the drone, the three suspects were tracked down and discovered to be unarmed. Police rushed in and made the first known arrests of U.S. citizens with help from a Predator.
Since that little-known incident, the Department of Homeland Security has quietly been running a "Loan-a-Drone" program for many local law enforcement agencies.
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