Fairbanks Police Department

Fairbanks police used an unmanned aerial vehicle — commonly known as a drone — on Tuesday to survey a transient camp near the westbound College Road offramp of the Johansen Expressway.

According to police spokeswoman Yumi McCulloch, the flyover was done at the behest of Fountainhead Development Inc., the owner of the wooded property located at the east end of Harold Bentley Avenue and west of Wedgwood Resort.

Two Fairbanks Police Department officers are trained to use the drone, according to McCulloch.

"It's a fairly new program because you have to get a lot of federal approvals, and you have to do certain steps in order to make sure that you're following the federal guidelines for official use," McCulloch said.

The intent is to identify the extent of the transient camp and how many people may be living there. Police may enter the camp in the future to post no trespassing signs and issue warnings to the occupants, according to McCulloch.

Police issued a public alert Tuesday afternoon informing the public about the drone operation.

Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.