Police in North Dakota used one of the U.S. military’s most technologically sophisticated aircrafts to nab a cow thief this past summer.
Cops argue that a North Dakota family stole six cows and refused to return the cows to their rightful owners in June. When police officials went to the home of the suspected cow thief, three men with rifles chased the officers off the family property.
After being chased off the farm, police opted to call in reinforcements, including the state Highway Patrol, a SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and a predator spy drone.
The spy drone was used to fly over the farm and determine when the suspects in the case had put their weapons down. The spy drone enabled police to arrest the suspects in the case, while avoiding a potentially dangerous and deadly shoot out.
It appears as though the incident this past summer marks one of the first arrests of a U.S. citizen with the help of a spy drone.
“We don’t use (drones) on every call out,” Bill Macki, head of the police SWAT team in Grand Forks told the Los Angeles Times.
North Dakota police sheriff Kelly Janke also expressed his reverence for the usage of the spy drones in an interview with the news agency.
“We don’t have to go in guns blazing. We can take our time and methodically plan out what our approach should be,” Janke told the news agency.
Nevertheless, some critics are arguing that the use of a costly and sophisticated spy drone to capture a cow thief could set a dangerous precedent on the infringement of privacy, a precedent that that the American public is likely to regret.
The United States Air Force (USAF) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) primarily use predator drones in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In civilian applications, predator drones began being used for border enforcement, drug investigations and scientific studies after Congress authorized the Customs and Border Protection to purchase unarmed drones in 2005.