Grand Forks drones attracting international attention

MPR Photo/Dan Gunderson

Drones are a hot topic as use expands and the privacy debate continues in Congress and on social media.

The use of small unmanned aircraft by the Grand Forks Sheriff's Department is attracting journalists from around the world. This week, when I observed a training session in Grand Forks, a crew from the NHK television network in Japan was also on site filming the exercise. Reporters were recording segments in Japanese and English.

Al Frazier, the deputy sheriff and University of North Dakota instructor who is managing the drone integration project, said that in the past two months he's also hosted crews from French and German TV.

Frazier said he welcomes the media attention because it helps stimulate a healthy public discussion about the use of drones.

The attention comes before a hearing Friday by a U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee: "Eyes in the Sky: The Domestic Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems."

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