Sheriff Rost says there are many ways it can be used.

The Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department has received a federal license to use a miniature helicopter drone as a law enforcement tool across 16 northeastern North Dakota counties.

The drone carries a camera and no weapons. It weighs 2 pounds and can easily be carried in a squad car.

Sheriff Bob Rost tells the Grand Forks Herald ( ) that the drone could have many uses: finding lost children or escaped prisoners, monitoring a hazardous material spill or checking flood conditions.

The license is through the Federal Aviation Administration. The sheriff's department will lease the drone from the University of North Dakota, which has an unmanned aircraft system program. The chief pilot will be Alan Frazier, an assistant professor of aviation who also serves as a part-time deputy.