The government is interested in drones. This includes law enforcement, highway management and search and rescue. Drones are being used by police and sheriff departments to more effectively analyze accident scenes, search and rescue missing persons, inspect the entire situation without putting anyone at risk, and, on the less controversial side, monitor the public.
This article will explain how sheriffs and police use drones to benefit society and make lawn Forssman more safe. It will also discuss how privacy lines are blurred by drones used in law enforcement.
Law Enforcements licensing for using drones is different than that of a Part 107 Pilot.
Drones used in Armed Combatant and Hostage situations
Knowing is half of the battle. Law enforcement uses drones to perform reconnaissance. Drones are a risk-free way to ensure civilian safety and officer safety in all situations.
When it comes to Law Enforcement, officer safety is often forgotten. Law enforcement officers are just as concerned about their safety as those they interact with. All law enforcement agencies have started to use drones, both aerial and ground-based, in order to spot hostile interactions within and around structures, particularly when hostage situations or armed criminal situations occur.
I spoke with the Sheriff of the small county on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. He explained to me how drones save the lives of their deputies by understanding the situation before entering the building/starting a firefight.
Data collected by the drone include the location of the building, number of hostels within the structure and traps that may have been set for officers. Additional useful information includes entry and exit points that officers can use to flank hostels or extract hostages.
This is also true for hostage victims. A small drone can be used by law enforcement to discreetly enter a building to count hostages and to instruct hostages to follow the officers’ movements.
It can take days to resolve hostage situations or armed barricades. However, determining the danger level using an unmanned vehicle can speed the process of de-escalation and, in extreme cases, engage in combat. Sometimes, the criminal may lie about their weapons and number of hostages.
This information can be a gamechanger as well as a lifesaver.
Drone Mapping and Modeling for Accident Reconstruction
Because of the many uses drone mapping could have, it is very popular. These applications include accident reconstruction projects. It is important to measure the damage and assess the impact on traffic at the crash site. Then, conduct an investigation to determine who was responsible. To analyze the duct, you will need to take photos at ground level before drone mapping.
To determine the accident’s extent, they would need to measure the tape measure. Law enforcement can use drone mapping to create an orthomosaic as well as a 3-D model to view the accident scene in real-time. The orthomosaic provides a top-down view of the accident and allows for measurements such as length of skid marks and distance between cars.
The police can use the 3-D model and the measurements from the orthomosaic to help them understand the accident. This method is much more reliable than the traditional methods of taking ground-level pictures and measuring with tape.
It’s easier to present a model to the court than the orthomosaic measurements to give a visual representation to the jury. If the police report is not consistent with the model or orthomosaic, the model and orthomosaic can be used to maintain an impartial recollection.
Monitoring Illegal Activities by Civilians and Drones
Small communities are often affected by tragedy, which can spark the desire to solve the problems. I spoke to a drone pilot, who is part a group that collaborates with law enforcement to report on and monitor criminal activity, mainly violent.
Although this man looks just like any civilian, several years ago, a teenager was killed and her body was burned in a gang-related firefight. He decided to do his part in cleaning up the neighborhood. He began using drones to track and report crime in his area to the police to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again.
He can monitor criminal activity using drones without being in danger. Although the danger to him is minimal, it takes courage to act. Criminals may attempt to track the drone back to its pilot. With the new Remote ID laws that require the location of the drone as well as the pilot to be broadcast, the danger to his life increases.
He is now a partner in police and several pilots, helping to eradicate violent criminal activity from residential areas across western North Carolina. Police appreciate civilian-led efforts because they can go directly to the location and have a clearer picture of the situation.
This pilot claims that crime, particularly violent crime, has declined significantly since he became a “civilian-anti-crime drone pilot”.
Drones are a great tool for law enforcement. Monitoring known threats and criminal activity can save many lives.
While police officers and sheriff deputies still have human rights, they may misuse the immense power that drones offer when monitoring crime. The phenomenon of monitoring people who have not yet committed crimes is known as “pre-crime”, and it is still a matter of debate.
Here is where the controversy starts. Many drone pilots, as well as non-drone pilots, have noticed the immense power drones provide law enforcement. The lines between law enforcement drone pilots and private property and people can be blurred when a crime has not been committed.
A surveillance state is when law enforcement can routinely monitor an area even if they don’t have warrants or a crime has not been committed. This violates the rights of citizens in the United States.
This is not legal advice. However, it is well-known that police must respect the privacy expectations of private citizens. Police officers are ground-based and must adhere to the private property laws. They cannot enter private property without a warrant. They are allowed to approach a private property to check it or ask questions. However, they cannot enter private property unless the owner has given permission. Without a warrant, they cannot open doors or search the property.
This is the problem with FAA airspace. Airspace is not owned by anyone. This means that law enforcement can fly a drone anywhere they like, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the property. This violates a citizen’s reasonable expectation for privacy.
This ability is loved by officers I’ve spoken with, but they don’t seem to be able to comprehend the precedent it sets or the rights it infringes on. It may be able to stop certain crimes, but power is rarely given up.
Traffic cameras can be used to monitor traffic speeds. This captures public property. Public property is also monitored by cameras mounted on government buildings. They can perform the same tasks as law enforcement drones, but without infringing anyone’s rights.
It is crucial to strike a balance between security and privacy. Law enforcement appears to be attempting to do this by routinely flying drones in private areas.
This is acknowledged by the ACLU in this article.
ACLU’s report states that drones should be avoided unless there is probable evidence that they could collect evidence about a particular crime. A warrant should be obtained if a drone is likely to intrude upon reasonable privacy expectations.”
The United States would be greatly affected if routine aerial surveillance was allowed to continue. It is important to establish rules to make sure that we are not subject to surveillance society, where every movement, record, and recorded by authorities, can be enjoyed.
Search and Rescue: An Honorable Mention
Since a while, drones have been used in rescue and search operations. Drones can help locate subjects using standard RGB cameras. Thermal drones enable lawn Forsmann pilots to look for heat signatures in a person. These signatures are usually hotter than the surrounding area.
This is a great and efficient way to find people who have lost their way within a national park, been kidnapped or become stranded. The thermal drone can fly in a grid pattern across a selected area thanks to its automated flight capabilities.
This makes sure that no area is overlooked. The GPS receiver will provide John’s location to the search and rescue team so they can pinpoint the exact location of the subject. The thermal drones have been a great help to police and law enforcement in finding missing people and will continue to do so.
Written By: Unmanned Aerial Operations