Drones have reportedly been enlisted in the search for Christopher Dorner in Big Bear, a possible first for unmanned vehicles in a domestic manhunt.
That's what was being reported today by the British Sunday Express newspaper, which quotes an unnamed law enforcement source who says: “The thermal imaging cameras the drones use may be our only hope of finding him.”
We reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials:
While spokesman Ralph DeSio told the UK paper, “This agency has been at the forefront of domestic use of drones by law enforcement,” he told the Weekly all he could say was this:
Customs and Border Protection officers and agents from the Office of Field Operations, the U.S. Border Patrol and the Office of Air and Marine are providing assistance in the search as requested from law enforcement authorities …
(DeSio later told us he never gave that quote, at the top, to the Express).
[Added at 6:58 p.m.: DeSio told the Weekly he did not confirm the usage of drones and didn't even speak to a reporter from the Express].
The British outlet indicates that Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz didn't exactly deny the use of drones (“We are using all the tools at our disposal,” he said in response to a question about the unmanned aircraft).
Cindi Bachman, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, told us:
I'm not aware of drones being used in the search.