A device called “the drone killer” has been approved for use in Oceanside, the first city in San Diego County to use the technology that will take down a drone.
Oceanside Police officials asked for help in enforcing the airspace over the city along the coast of San Diego County.
The city is near Camp Pendleton and the most northern community in the county located along the Interstate 5 stretch to Orange County.
After a drone disrupted firefighting efforts last year, the department requested approval for a high-tech device designed to stop drones from breaking flight laws.
"They are a little worried because drones are being used to deliver IEDs in the Middle East. And they think that that's a possibility here," said Andy Morabe Director of Marketing for IXI Technology.
The Yorba Linda-based company developed the device for local law enforcement officers using technology currently used by the U.S. military.
Drones have been a problem for crews battling brush fires. When they are in the air, fire helicopters will land to avoid a collision.
The most recent example for the North County was December’s Lilac Fire, according to Tom Bussey, Oceanside Police Department spokesperson.
“We had a drone up and we couldn't make water drops with firefighting aircraft because that drone was in the air,” Bussey said.
The way it works is rather simple. The device can be up to a half a mile away from the targeted drone. When it’s aimed at the drone, a press of the trigger will disable the device. The drone is either forced to land or it is sent back to its home base.
The U.S. military is currently testing the Drone Intervention Device.
“Right now this is used to protect certain NFL games, I'm sure it'll be used for Major League Baseball games when Opening Day starts,” Morabe said.
Morabe said the device was used for the Rose Bowl, the Rose Parade and the Golden Globes in Beverly Hills.
He said the company is donating one of the devices to the Oceanside Police Department because it's the first agency to show an interest in using the device.
An ordinance to use the drone killer is still being worked out by city leaders in Oceanside.
Once that is all squared away Oceanside police officers plan to start using it immediately.
The drone killer as they call it isn't going to be used to bring down drones flown casually by people. City officials assured NBC 7 that police officers plan to use it for public safety and during emergencies.