On Friday, the department announced that it had acquired two "unmanned aerial vehicles" as gifts from the Seattle Police Department.
The Draganflyer X6 aircraft, which resemble small helicopters, are each about 3 feet wide and equipped with a camera, video camera and infrared night-vision capabilities.
In making the announcement, however, department officials were at pains to make it clear the LAPD doesn't intend to use the new hardware to keep watch from above over an unsuspecting public. If they're used at all, the remotely controlled aircraft will be called on only for "narrow and prescribed uses" that will be made clear to the public, the statement said.
That, according to LAPD spokesman Cmdr. Andrew Smith, would include situations involving barricaded suspects or hostages in which police need to see inside a building as they decide how to respond.