Police departments all over the world are in the business of surveillance. It is for this reason that you will often see patrol cars roaming the streets, especially at night, when the chance of a crime being committed is higher. To augment these patrolling conventional methods, police departments are now showing interest in using drones
Police departments all over the world are in the business of surveillance. It is for this reason that you will often see patrol cars roaming the streets, especially at night, when the chance of a crime being committed is higher. To augment these patrolling conventional methods, police departments are now showing interest in using drones for aerial surveillance. For instance, in March 2015, the FAA granted statewide permission to Michigan State Police to use surveillance drones for the purpose of law enforcement. Likewise, other police departments are eager to gain permission for using UAVs in this way.
So why should we accept UAVs as part of police surveillance methods? Here are our top five reasons why law enforcement agencies should pay attention to this technology:
- Faster Response Times: Drones have very quick response times with regards to reaching a desired location. For instance, if a suspect is on the loose, it is quite time consuming to call in a helicopter for aerial reconnaissance. Instead, a drone such as the $158,000 Aeryon SkyRanger, which the Michigan State Police has acquired, can be launched within seconds and can immediately provide a view of the suspect’s movements and location.
- Large Coverage Area: Drones can cover large areas faster than police officers on foot or by car. Situations may arise where it is not possible for police officers to scout an entire area on the ground, such as is required when trying to locate a missing person. Multiple drones can be used in these situations to quickly identify any clues that may help in the investigation.
- Advanced Heat Detection: It is expected that police departments will use specialized drones such as the SkyRanger, which includes IR cameras for heat detection. During fires, such drones can assist first responders in locating the source of a blaze in order to efficiently and quickly put it out. Also, rugged drones can be used to check inside buildings for victims in areas engulfed by flames where it is not safe for firefighters to enter.
- Video Evidence: Video surveillance can easily be gathered by a drone equipped with HD video cameras which roll continuously. If an incident is captured on camera, the police can use it as evidence in court. This could potentially save the authorities a lot of money and ensure more solid prosecutions of criminals.
- Can Reach Obstructed Locations With Ease: If the authorities reach a location where there are no easy points of entry, such as a fortified compound used by drug traffickers, using a drone for aerial reconnaissance is a great way to get an overview of the location. This could be used to find an entrance point or to come up with a tactical strategy.
Law enforcement officials have plenty of reasons to be interested in using drones and already, around the world, the process to acquire and use them has begun.
So what do we think? How comfortable are you with having police drones flying in your neighborhood? Do you have other ways in which UAVs could benefit police or fire departments?
If you work for one of these agencies, tell us in what ways you could make use of drone technology to improve your results.
And of course, if you’ve got a passion for unmanned aerial vehicles and are tinkering with your own design or software development that could apply in law enforcement, share your store by commenting or signing up to be interviewed by DroneFutures.org!
Image via: Mike Licht