Best Drone for Law Enforcement ?

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Alan, good question. On initial investigation, it looks as though most of the drones are very "light duty" - time on station, distance from operator, wind limitations etc. That doesn't mean there isn't a good mission for this type of drone, but it's clearly not a replacement for a helicopter - as some have suggested. Sooo... I thought talking with an actual law enforcement operator or manufacturer might help who actually sells to law enforcement agencies might be a good place to start. Thanks for your interest. I'm open to any ideas. I have to check out for today. Best regards Nick 

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Ed, thank you for your thoughtful response. I appreciate your willingness to help me clarify my thoughts.

I'm interested in learning about any law enforcement operation currently using a drone and finding out how their drone is being used. I don't have a specific mission in mind other than the broad mission called surveillance, but would like to know what missions are being specifically identified by units who are actual users.

Traditionally, an airborne law enforcement unit's mission will cover everything from traffic interdiction, surveillance/ drug enforcement surveillance, EMS transport, passenger transport, night operation with a FLIR/ searchlight, water bucket usage for fires and the list goes on (Obviously the small drones we're talking about can't do all of that.). Usually the unit has a clear and concise mission statement for its unit and the equipment it uses. I'm guessing this same type of mission definition occurs when a drone operation is introduced into a law enforcement unit, airborne or not. I simply curious what these mission definitions might be?

The drones I've looked at, in general, have very limited performance capabilities. Considering the limited performance, how is the purchase/ training of a drone justified. Usually a well thought out mission statement provides justification etc.

I hope I'm not coming across as being tedious. I appreciate your input.



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Nick, two places you can give a call to are 

Rocky Mountain Unmanned Systems


Skyfire Consulting

I am in the public service sector and currently searching for funding options for an emergency response drone system with FLIR capabilities. Both companies were extremely great to speak with. They have a lot of good suggestions and can help your department come up with something specific to your needs.

I would think a drone is not a full replacement for a chopper. It is a short term replacement. Even with the battery limitations, flight restrictions, etc. you will still be able to accomplish a lot with a drone at a fraction of the price. But you will not be able to stay in sustained flight for long periods. 

The benefits lie in its portability, and response time. If the helicopter is not already in the air you are looking at a long response time. With a drone, if a duty officer has it available (much like an on duty K9) it can be deployed in a matter of minutes. It also has greater maneuverability and the ability to get into small places that helicopters can't. 

I would call those companies and speak to them about what you want to do and let them suggest some options. They deal almost solely with public service entities. 

Our department is trying to find funding to purchase a DJI Inspire with a dual camera (1 regular, 1 FLIR) setup. Looks to be around $10,000 or so. 

Let us know what you figure out!  Good luck. 

Edited by Ranger Jenkins.
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On ‎11‎/‎22‎/‎2016 at 7:08 PM, Ed O'Grady said:

Hello @NickRick.  Not sure you actually answered Alan's question. I think he was asking what types of enforcement and surveillance operations were you interested in.  That would make it easier to give you some info.

Ranger Jenkins - thank you for your reply. It is very helpful and accurate.

George Fitzgerald - yes I have. Interestingly, 4th amendment issues become the main area of concern after settling on an actual mission definition.

Each of you, I appreciate your input.


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