Mandan Police Deputy Chief Lori Flaten has been in law enforcement for decades and she says technology has come a long way since the time she joined the force.

“The things we have now we take for granted. When I first started, we didn’t have portable radios. Every officer now has portable radios,” Flaten said.

The police department now has a drone that can be used for searches and rescues.

The department received a phone call from Lynette Lauer, a Mandan resident who asked if the department needed a drone.

“This was a perfect opportunity. When she offered we were like yeah, thank you so very much.”

The response was yes and shortly after the check was on the way.

“There are a lot of things: you can search for missing people, you can cover a lot more area quickly with a drone,” Flaten said.

Officer Jonathan Henry recently completed the training necessary to be one of the department’s pilots.

Henry says the training consisted of information similar to what aircraft pilots need to know.

“How planes manipulate in dense air and weather,” Henry said.

Operating the drone is easy and fun. It can even be programmed for automated flight.

“What we really need to do is set up a flight plan and it will fly itself,” Henry said.

Now, with an extra eye in the sky it will be easier than ever to capture hiding spaces that aren’t visible from the ground.

“There’s a lot of ravines and trees around here. As far as the capabilities and functions of this, it will apply very well to what we do every day,” Henry said.

The camera on the drone is designed to be used day or night.

“We get a wide-angle view with the camera it has; it has info red so if somebody is hiding under a bush or under a blanket, they’re going to light up from the heat,” Henry said.

Officer Henry also said training was just a few weeks ago and others are still wrapping up, so they’ll be able to operate it as well.