crackspackle writes: The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office in suburban Houston, Texas is preparing to launch operations with a newly received Vanguard Defense Industries Shadowhawk MK-III unmanned aerial vehicle, paid for by grant money received by the Department of Homeland Security. The MK-III is a product marketed for both military and law enforcement applications. Michael Buscher, chief executive officer of manufacturer Vanguard Defense Industries, said this is the first local law enforcement agency to buy one of his units. "The aircraft has the capability to have a number of different systems on board. Mostly, for law enforcement, we focus on what we call less lethal systems," he said, including Tazers that can send a jolt to a criminal on the ground or a gun that fires bean bags known as a "stun baton.You have a stun baton where you can actually engage somebody at altitude with the aircraft. A stun baton would essentially disable a suspect," he said. "To be in on the ground floor of this is pretty exciting for us here in Montgomery County," Sheriff Tommy Gage said. The MK-III also has more lethal options available, capable of carrying either a 40mm or 37mm grenade launcher or 12 gauge shotgun with laser designator. Sheriff Gage has stated he has no immediate plans to outfit his drone with weapons.
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