We’ve heard about unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) being used by the miltary for all sorts of different operations, but these drones have largely been limited to military missions outside of the United States. That line has now been crossed.
Former US Navy lieutenant Christopher Dorner was fired from the LAPD in 2008 for lying about a fellow officer accused of misconduct and he is now seeking revenge by “killing officers and their families,” according to his Facebook page. He has already shot and killed the daughter of a former LAPD captain, as well as her fiance. He was also involved in a shootout with police shortly thereafter, wounding one of the officers at the site.
Dorner is now thought to be hiding out in the San Bernardino mountains near Los Angeles as the plans to “utilize every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordinance and survival training” he’s been given as he prepares to “bring warfare” to the LAPD. As a result, a task force of 125 officers are continuing their search for Dorner in the mountains, but they realize that searching on the ground is “like looking for a needle in a haystack.”
The drone or drones being used don’t appear to be carrying any lethal weaponry. Instead, they have thermal imaging cameras that the task force hopes will be able to locate Dorner in the snow-capped mountains. Dorner is now the first human target for a remote-controlled UAV on US soil, at least officially. Does this create for a slippery slope for future, potentially dangerous situations? Dorner says that he is prepared to use a shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missile to “knock out” any helicopters to pursue him, so in the interest of protecting the officers in this chase, perhaps the drone is the safest option?