Residents Hope Manteca Police’s New Drone Will Help Reduce Crime in Their Neighborhoods

MANTECA -- There are now more eyes in the sky over Manteca thanks to the police department's newest addition -- a drone.

Two suspected armed robbers who were on the run could be seen from above as one of the men managed to get away. However, his freedom was short-lived as a student-athlete turned detective tackled him to the ground.

"He actually did play football in college. He’s pretty fast," said Modesto Police Lt. Stephen Schluer.

The arrest was all caught on camera thanks to the Manteca Police Department’s newest $26,000 drone

Manteca families FOX40 spoke to approve of the purchase.

"I think it’ll be good for the city, you know, help the community out," said resident Zach Sadler.

Schluer told FOX40 the recently purchased drone will only be piloted by officers with commercial licenses. Right now, only one detective is able to operate the unmanned aircraft.

By the end of the year, two more pilots should be added to their roster. The lieutenant said the police department’s goal is to have all seven of their watch commanders licensed to fly the drone.

Schluer explained the department has to follow strict Federal Aviation Administration and internal guidelines.

"If an officer can be in that area and has the lawful right to be in that area, then the drone can be looking into that area," he said.

If private property is searched, officers will still have to get a warrant.

"The drone can’t be used to spy. It can’t be used to peer, to look into," Schluer said.

Families said they have high hopes.

"I’m hoping what will happen is we’ll see a lot less activity hanging around here and our kids will be able to to enjoy the park," said Karsha Shenson.

As for criminals, Lt. Schluer said Henry, the drone's rubber duck "co-pilot," has his eyes on you. "You can’t duck the duck."

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