CHICAGO (CBS) — The Orland Park Police Department has announced it is the first municipal department in Illinois authorized to use a drone.

The department began the process of getting Federal Aviation Administration authorization in May to train and use the Phantom III drone.

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Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy said he sees the main use of the drone in searching for missing children or senior citizens who have mental or physical issues. He said those types of situations happened eight or nine times last year.

“We had one woman who wandered away who had Alzheimer’s. She ended up in a ditch, and we found her, and she survived, but barely. We could have covered a lot of territory with a drone, and probably found her more quickly than we did,” the chief said.

Oher authorized uses would be in cases of man-made or natural disasters, active shooter-type situations, and traffic crashes.

“I don’t see that we’re going to be using it every day. That certainly isn’t going to happen, because the reporting requirements after using it are very significant as well,” McCarthy said.

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According to the chief, under the state’s Drone Surveillance Act, police are not authorized to use the drone for investigative purposes unless they obtain a search warrant from a judge.

Six of his officers have begun training, and in January will have to pass the FAA’s private pilot license test at Midway International Airport before they can use the drone.

McCarthy said he finds it odd police must go through all sorts of approvals and tests, but average citizens can go out – and, by all indications, will go out this holiday season – and buy drones, and use them without training.

“I really have no problem with it, but it becomes rather odd that – come Christmastime – they’re going to sell hundreds of thousands of these things, and people will be flying them with no training whatsoever,” he said. “It certainly doesn’t make sense, to tell you the truth.”

Orland Park received the DGI Phantom III professional drone through a grant from the Health Care Coalition.

The drones may not be flown any higher than 400 feet.

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The drone is small enough to fit into the back of a police squad car, making it easily deployable.