McAllen Independent School District police officers will begin using drones to improve security measures at the school district.

The school district purchased three Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, also known as UAVs or drones, to investigate potential threats in real-time.

“We can have a more rapid response to a crisis situation, while actually reducing man hours, when we use it as an investigative tool,” said McAllen ISD Chief of Police Cris Esquivel Jr.

The district’s school board signed off on the use of drones in December 2016. On May 26, two officers completed their certification in operating the drones. The total cost of equipment and training for the officers was approximately $23,000.

“I want to make it very clear that it’s not a surveillance tool, that we are going to be using to spy on people,” Esquivel said. “It is strictly for response and investigative situations.”

The drones will also be used to help upgrade school maps, and build on safety measures already in place.