POLAND TWP., Ohio (WKBN) — Police in Poland Township are among a growing number of local departments to add drones to their list of equipment.

The department purchased the unit last spring and put it to use for law enforcement purposes for the first time earlier this month. The drone kept an eye on the local schools after receiving reports of a man armed with a rifle.

Poland Township police Chief Greg Wilson said the drone can handle tasks in the air that might otherwise take a large number of officers on the ground.

“We can deploy the drones rapidly. We can cover more area with the drones. We can actually cover areas that are not easy for police to get to,” Wilson said. “They’re just a great tool for us.”

Wilson said the unit was purchased for about $1,000 using federal COVID relief money the township received.

He said it can be used to help monitor large crowds, as well as search-and-rescue situations.