Chicken-Fried News: Drone drama 

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  • Fried chicken drumstick in isolated white background

Look! Up in the sky!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane!

No, it’s the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) testing out its newest crime-fighting tool: a fleet of drones.

“The drone is more controllable up-close,” OSBI special agent Steve Neuman told News 9. “We’re able to hover and take aerial images that can be helpful in crime scene investigations.”

Oklahoma State University grad students and educators are helping train OSBI investigators to use the new technology to create crime scene maps.

“We can study and we can present it in the courtroom in a 3-D manner,” Neuman said. “It puts the jury right at the crime scene.”

It’s also a cost-saving measure since OSBI currently uses airplane flyovers and helicopters to take aerial photos.

Neuman said using drones instead of manned flights could save hundreds of thousands of dollars on investigations, not to mention the help they could someday provide in manhunts and missing persons cases.

How that squares with privacy-obsessed members of the public is yet to be seen.

Senate Bill 660, originally authored by former Sen. Ralph Shortey, sought to make it legal for property owners to shoot down or capture drones on their private land without being held liable for damage.

The bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but it hasn’t been scheduled for a floor vote.

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