Burleigh Commissioners approve drone, equipment to be paid with civil asset forfeiture funds

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Since the beginning of the year, law enforcement has been required by state law to thoroughly report and log civil asset forfeiture funds as well as how they're allocated.

The Burleigh County Sheriff's Department just received approval for a new drone at the county commission meeting.

The $5,000 plus expense will be taken from forfeiture funds.

This year the sheriff's department became the first in the state to get federal approval to fly over people.

The federal aviation administration granted the department several waivers to fly at night, over people and in some restricted areas.

The Burleigh County Sheriff's Departments is trying to take policing to new heights.

"If it's approved at the commission level then we will be able to purchase a drone and be able to see at night just like we do in the day," said Burleigh County Sheriff Kelly Leben.

He says before the approval from the FAA, nightfall was a disadvantage with the drones they currently have.

The drone they're requesting has infrared technology to see at night but also to detect heat sources in cold weather.

It also has a PA system and flood light.

"What this drone will help us with would be to pick up heat signature from that person or any other object and ultimately help with office safety," said deputy investigator Jared Lemieux.

He says the drone will not only help serve departments but others who need it.

Sheriff Leben says the forfeiture funds will help ease the burden of purchasing the equipment from tax payer dollars.