Bunten: Use Drones Rather Than Helicopter

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The mayor of Topeka wants the city to buy unmanned aerial vehicles known as "drones'' for the police department.

In his State of the City address Thursday night, Mayor Bill Bunten said the pilotless surveillance aircraft can be used for some of the functions a helicopter performs at less cost. Bunten said police in North Little Rock, Ark., had purchased two drones for $135,000.

Law enforcement agencies across the country are exploring the use of drones as a cheaper, quieter alternative to conventional planes and helicopters. But before that happens, they will have to get FAA approval.

Except for use along the Mexican border, the FAA has yet to approve any unmanned aircraft for police use.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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