The SWAT officers thought the armed robbery suspect might be in a second-floor apartment.
To find out without risking their lives, they deployed a new tool: a small drone that hovered outside the window transmitting live video.
The video showed that the man did not appear to be in the room. The officers could enter knowing he was not behind the door waiting to ambush them.
The Jan. 9 standoff in Koreatown, which lasted nine hours before the suspect was safely arrested, was the first time the Los Angeles Police Department has used a drone, joining hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the country that have acquired them to provide a set of eyes in dangerous situations.