The Hemet Police Department is one of several Southern California agencies testing drone usage on everyday calls, not just on tactical responses.
Police officials say the drones can help officers assess situations better, making better decisions that ultimately benefit the public.
The drones can be deployed much faster than the helicopters, are quieter, and can get much closer, giving officers looking at the live feed from their vehicles, even cellphones, critical information.
Privacy concerns have been raised, and the ACLU is among the agencies keeping an eye on drone usage by law enforcement agencies.
Hemet PD officials say they are being as transparent as possible, even making the flight paths available to the public, on a delay (so as not to hamper real live responses). But the public can see, about 12 hours after, where the drones have been flying and get a better sense of where and how they are being used.