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Evanston aldermen Monday will be asked to approve acceptance of a federally-funded grant to acquire an unmanned aerial vehicle and train police and fire fighters in its use.

Fire Chief Brian Scott, in a memo to aldermen, says the goal of obtaining the drone is to “provide direct and effective support to public safety operations in a safe, responsible and transparent manner.”

Scott says Glenview, Northbrook and Winnetka are among 39 Illinois communities that already have acquired drones for public safety use.

He says the device could be used for lakefront search and rescue operations, including with thermal-imaging cameras. Other uses he suggests include providing natural disaster response and assessment, special event traffic and crowd management reconnaissance and crime scene photography.

He says all employees who would operate the drones would comply with federal and state rules regarding their operation.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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