Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front - latimes.com
Reporting from Washington — Armed with a search warrant, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke went looking for six missing cows on the Brossart family farm in the early evening of June 23. Three men brandishing rifles chased him off, he said. Janke knew the gunmen could be anywhere on the 3,000-acre spread in eastern North Dakota. Fearful of an armed standoff, he called in reinforcements from the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties. He also called in a Predator B drone. As the unmanned aircraft circled 2 miles overhead the next morning, sophisticated sensors under the nose helped pinpoint the three suspects and showed they were unarmed. But that was just the start. "We don't use [drones] on every call out," said Bill Macki, head of the police SWAT team in Grand Forks. The drones belong to U.S. Congress first authorized Customs and Border Protection to buy unarmed Predators in 2005. In an interview, Michael C.