News reports out of Miami this week bring tale of a rather dystopian development: The police department in Florida's most telegenic city is ever closer to becoming America's first to deploy high-flying, fast-moving (but weaponless!) robots for performing "advanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance."

TPMMuckraker has the scoop:

The Miami-Dade Police Department could soon become the first police department in the country to employ unmanned drones, a technology that until now has been used for official purposes only in war zones and along the country's border. The department acquired two T-Hawk Micro Air Vehicles, manufactured by Honeywell, in August 2009, and has been testing and training with them since. It is now in the third phase of a three-phase testing program, and plans to apply soon to the FAA for final approval to use the drones in operations.

"No other law enforcement agency in the country is using this," Sergeant Andrew Cohen, who has been coordinating the program for the department's aviation unit, told TPM. "We're forging new ground."

Unlike the famous Predator-B drones, which have been used to kill militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, T-Hawks are much smaller, carry no weapons and are intended for short, targeted tasks. Cohen said each T-Hawk is approximately the size of a "small office garbage can."

Honeywell manufactures the drones, and reportedly is leasing one to Miami-Dade for just $1. The government paid for the bureau's other one with a grant.