Standard Police Drone

Libertynews –  

Police Chief, Sam Dotson, has taken the first steps toward requesting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to use drones for local law enforcement operations in his jurisdiction – St. Louis, MO.

Dotson has been communicating with the FAA since March 25, 2013.  He asserts that drones can make policing safer, more efficient, and even more cost effective.

European Police Drone

He told the FAA:

“Criminals believe, and with some truth, that if they flee from police officers, officers will not pursue and they will ultimately elude capture…If we are serious about crime reduction strategies, we must look to new technologies which help keep officers and the public safe and apprehend criminals.”

One Federal Circuit Court Attorney, Jennifer Joyce, whose signature is required to make Dotson’s drone dreams a reality, told MO reporters that the chief has her, “enthusiastic support.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Predator Police Drone

The drones Mr. Dotson wants to use cost upwards of $60,000 to $300,000 each, unlike military Predator drones, which are being used by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Police, which cost millions of dollars apiece.

The police chief told the FAA that he would pay for the drones with private donations and potentially federal/private grants.

The miniature remote controlled aircraft, aka drones, are bound by these strict flight restrictions:

 “The FAA requires that a civilian drone remain within sight of its operator, and fly no higher than four-hundred feet above ground.”

Mesa County Sheriff Drone

Ben Miller, who used to head Mesa County, OK’s drone program with the local sheriff’s office, thinks that drones are simply, “A lot of fuss for not a lot of technology.

Miller explained:

At the end of the day, you’re going to pull a radio-controlled toy out of a box that can fly for fifteen minutes, sometimes not even above the trees…

British Police Drone Diagram showing all the parts and pieces of a standard law enforcement drone

Miller argued that drones can help map crime scenes and track criminals for a fraction of the cost of aircraft or helicopters and using them removes some of the danger from law enforcement.

Federal authorities are still working on new rules and regulations to govern potential privacy invasion issues which naturally accompany the use of drones to do police-work.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol uses military drones for domestic police operations.

The FAA claims that they will ensure that drone-equipped police operate in a way that does not violate citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unwarranted searches of their person and property.


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