In its lead story, CBS Sunday Morning focused on drones with extensive focus on North Dakota, U.N.D., and the Grand Forks and Nelson County sheriffs' offices.
According to the televison news story:
Suppose you've got a dangerous hostage situation; an unmanned aircraft can track the gunman. It can evaluate flooding, or help firefighters cheaply and safely without endangering lives, the argument goes.
At a North Dakota farm, one assisted in safely resolving an armed standoff over some cattle.
"We were able to tell that there were three adult males at the end of the driveway, which appeared to be holding long guns," said Kelly Janke, Sheriff of Nelson County.
The next morning, the three men were arrested.
"That's when we utilized the UAV again, and we determined that it was safe at the time, and so we moved in, basically, to extract the cattle that we were given a warrant for."
Last week in Grand Forks, N.D., first responders attended a short course in what drones can do for them.
The project coordinator, Alan Frazier, teaches at the University of North Dakota, and is a deputy sheriff himself. He demonstrated a 36-inch DraganFlyer drone equipped with infrared in a gymnasium. "We have the IR sensor on the aircraft, so you're going to see everything in black and white. White is hot, black is dark, or cold."
The irony here is that the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department -- like every other law enforcement agency -- has to get a special license from the FAA before it can use an unmanned aircraft.
Here are links to the full CBS story, as well as last week's TIME magazine cover story and pending North Dakota legislation:
Feb. 11, 2013