Friday, April 12, 2024

Can Police Use Drones For Surveillance

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Dji Matrice 210 Rtk V2 Zenmuse Xt + Z30 Zoom

Drones Increasingly Used in Police Work

DJI is known for its flagship consumer and enterprise drones. The company has a 70% market share in the drone industry. The DJI Matrice is one of the most popular enterprise drones. Paired with DJIs Zenmuse payloads, the Matrice 210 RTK is a very handy tool for law enforcement agencies. Firstly, the drone is equipped with an RTK module that gives it global accuracy down to a centimeter. With 38 minutes of flight time and an 8km operational range, the drone can give ground teams a detailed perspective from the sky.

The Zenmuse XT is a thermal payload that consists of industry-leading thermal imaging technology of FLIR. The additional Z30 payload is a high-definition zoom camera with up to 30x optical zoom. Some reasons that help the Matrice 210 RTK to stand out are:

  • Can carry two payloads at once
  • Built-in RTK module

Read more about the DJI Matrice 210 RTK V2.

Law Enforcement Use Of Drones: Do You Have Your Warrant

The 21st century has brought unprecedented technological advances, which means more complex legal issues. This raises the question of whether the current rules of law need to change to remain relevant. Unmanned aircraft systems or drones are a perfect example.

Drone use has become popular, partly because of its affordability and sophistication. Its no surprise that it is attractive to law enforcement officers.

Drones can be very useful to law enforcement, especially during emergencies, and cities across the United States have found creative ways to use drones. However, this use of drones comes with Fourth Amendment concerns, especially when it comes to private residences.

Go About Your Business

Police drones are known to follow people at times. If you are running errands and need to be at a certain, do not change your pace, just go about your duties. If at all there is a need for the police to access you, they would do so. If not, delaying your schedule to find out why they are following you is just a waste of everyones time, especially yours.

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Writing Policies For Law Enforcement Use Of Drones

Law enforcement drone use is still controversial, so agencies must be extra careful when implementing a drone program.

The community needs to be able to trust that police wont use drones to spy on them or harm them.

Good policies are key in making sure your law enforcements use of drones doesnt violate citizens rights.

The Department of Homeland Security released a set of guidelines for protecting privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties in drone programs.

Its a must-read in preparing to write your drone policy. The best practices can be summarized in the following points:

The last thing that we need to have happen in regarding drone use is to have a one-size-fits-all approach.

1. Know your state laws

Some states have specifically restricted drone use in law enforcement. But even if your state doesnt put stipulations on drone use, your agency must make sure your intended use of drones doesnt violate any civil rights or search and seizure laws.

Consult with legal counsel and civil rights experts to ensure compliance with regulations and protection of individual rights.

2. Know your purpose and stick to it

John Gordnier suggests that law enforcement agencies establish a clear purpose for using drones before purchasing them and starting to use them.

The thing law enforcement has to do is decide how and how often and for what purposes its going to use a drone, then buy a drone that meets those purposes, he says.

4. Be transparent with the community

Following The Guiding Principles

Can the Police Use Drones for Surveillance?

Dorset, Devon and Cornwall police forces followed the 12 guiding principles in the code, for example, ensuring that they made every effort to:

  • involve the public and wider community
  • inform them that they were considering using the drones
  • inform them about how they would use the drones

Following the guiding principles put them in a good position to apply for the Surveillance Camera Commissioners third party certification scheme.

Ricky Fidler, Dorset Police said:

Applying for certification seemed an obvious next step for drones as this was another way to ensure that the processes we had in place were suitable and transparent. We found the whole process remarkably simple: most of the documentation that was required by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner we had already completed a privacy impact assessment and so on. We are familiar with these documents within the police service as we use them in other areas of business.

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Drones Used By Law Enforcement

Police drones are already being used for reconnaissance missions to spy on criminals and collect the valuable information needed to make a bust. One of the most famous examples of this was the Jimmy Lee Dykes case where the FBI used a drone to peer into Dykes bunker through an open pipe.

In this way, they were able to see the exact moment that negotiations started to break down. Further, it allowed them to more precisely and accurately kill Dyke without hurting the five-year-old boy he was holding hostage.

Currently, most drones stay airborne with quadrocopters, helicopter-style spinning blades. However, engineers are busy designing drones that will stay airborne and maneuver in a completely different way. Many are looking to model drones after animals like hummingbirds and insects. These types of designs are called biomimetic designs because they mimic nature. Theres no reason to reinvent the wheel when Mother Nature has already perfected it.

A drone that mimics an insect could potentially be very tiny and could maneuver unnoticed through any tiny open space, the same way insects get into your house or office.

Some police departments also value drones for their ability to capture a crime scene at very high resolution and at multiple angles before anyone, including the investigators, contaminate the scene. Border crossing patrols are also enthusiastic about the potential for drone surveillance, especially if equipped with movement sensors.

Dji Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual

The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual is a more affordable quadcopter that provides all the essential features to assist law enforcement agencies. It comes equipped with dual cameras- FLIR thermal camera and a 12 MP RGB camera. Additionally, the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual can also capture infrared footage. This is useful functionality for police operations and night-time operations.

The Mavic 2 Enterprise also comes along with three accessories: M2E Speaker, Spotlight, and Beacon. These modular accessories make the enterprise a multi-functional drone. Some reasons that help the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual to stand out are:

  • Dual camera setup

Read more about the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual.

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Future Uses Of Drones

As drone technology advances, UAVs may become more useful for emergency services. Researches at MIT and Olin College are working to develop a drone that can be used to fight fires.

UAVs can support search and rescue operations in areas that may be difficult for humans to reach.

For example, a German nonprofit is developing drones that can deliver defibrillators to heart attack victims.

The drones would be able to quickly reach people in rural areas, and potentially keep them alive until emergency personnel arrived on the scene.

What It Takes To Have A Police Drone

Beachgoers react to police using drones for surveillance

Other area departments that have drones include Millis, Sudbury and Westborough.

For police, adding a drone to the department’s arsenal isnt a simple process of just buying it and then flying it. All operators need to get Certification of Operations from the Federal Aviation Administration, Westborough Police Sgt. Cliff Luce said.

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The certificate gives officers the legal right to use the drone beyond what is allowed for non-official purposes, such as being able to use the drone outside of the users physical sight, as well as the height a drone can go.

Westborough started its drone program in July 2017. The first time it was used was to monitor traffic during the towns 300th anniversary celebration, Luce said.

If there was a traffic issue, we could deploy the drone to go see what it was before deploying an officer, he said. We could see if it was a problem that would take care of itself so we didnt send an officer there for nothing.

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Invasive Aerial Surveillance Can Be Limited

With these serious and growing risks to personal privacy, its important that lawmakers begin to take the threats of aerial surveillance more seriously. Luckily, drones can be fairly easily regulated. Several states have placed limits on drone-based surveillance. For example, Florida, Maine, North Dakota, and Virginia have all enacted some form of a warrant requirement for police use of drones, and Rhode Island has proposed legislation prohibiting the use of facial recognition on any images captured by drones. To be fully effective, drone regulations should take into account and allow important public safety uses that dont threaten privacy rights, like natural disaster response and search and rescue.

Unfortunately, as weve previously written, the increasing use of powerful manned aerial surveillance programsremains a serious issue that drone regulations will not solve. Reasonable limits on law enforcement drone use is an excellent way to begin setting reasonable limits on all forms of aerial surveillance, but it is also just the first step in addressing larger civil liberties issues looming above.

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The Importance Of Law Enforcement Drone Policy

Its important to have a policy the addresses both civilian drone use and your law enforcement agencys use of drones.

Along with laws that limit civilian use of drones, some states have laws regulating law enforcement use of drones.

For example, Vermont has strict rules regulating law enforcement agencies using drones to investigate, detect, and prosecute crimes.

And, according to a report published by the national conference of state legislatures, public agencies must obtain a certificate of authorization from the FAA in order to use a drone.

Law enforcement agencies must take laws, regulations, and best practices into account when developing drone policies.

In areas that dont have robust laws governing civilian drone use, law enforcement agencies can collaborate with government bodies to help develop regulations and policies that work for their communities.

John Gordnier, a consultant and former California assistant attorney general, says drone issues need to be addressed on a regional basis.

The last thing that we need to have happen in regarding drone use is to have a one-size-fits-all approach, he says.

Good drone policies can ensure that both law enforcement agencies and civilians use drones responsibly.

Law enforcement needs and civilian attitudes about drones will vary depending on the location, and good policies will balance the rights of citizens and the interests of law enforcement.

Use Of Drones In Car Chases Discussed

Can Police Use Drones For Surveillance?  Drone Tech Planet

Conways comments about the police departments drone program were included in an email discussing a new vehicle pursuit policy.

The memo also included other technology options the department was considering to apparently minimize the risk of engaging in chases: a device to shut down a fleeing vehicles engine and a system for remote tracking. The latter option, StarChase, is a mechanism that allows cops to shoot a GPS-equipped dart at a suspects car.

Last August, the police department issued revised directives on pursuits, but the general order bears no mention of the technologies.

An email sent on Aug. 16, 2019 by Tamika Puckett, the citys former chief risk officer, presented drones as a potentially cheaper alternative to StarChase.

StarChase might be too costly of an option for our needs. If so, then we should research the drone issue, especially the city ordinance and what changes need to be made to it in order to even consider this an option, Puckett wrote to Morris and other staffers.

Chicagos drone ordinance is highly restrictive, though law enforcement agencies operating in the city are afforded an exception to its prohibitions if their drone use complies with state law. That law allows police to use drones for a variety of purposes, namely countering terrorism, searching for missing persons, photographing crime scenes and even pursuing crime suspects.

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Invasive Aerial Surveillance Is Cheap

In addition to the surveillance powers modern drones possess in terms of long-distance monitoring, automated identification, and automated tracking, technological advances are making aerial surveillance an exponentially cheaper option, and thus something that can be done more broadly and on a larger scale. The Inspire 2 costs around $3,000, and equipping it with the powerful Z30 zoom camera costs an additional $3,000. In comparison, police helicopters cost roughly $500,000 to $3,000,000. The helicopters operating costs of $200 to $400 per hour and the maintenance costs increase the expense of this traditional aerial surveillance tool even more.

With this cost differential, a department could potentially purchase a fleet of 500 drones in lieu of a single police choppera swarm of devices that can watch individuals without notice from thousands of feet away, use software to identify people in an automated manner, and follow them without human piloting. As technology improves, the potential power of this type of fleet will only increase, creating the possibility of a massive surveillance umbrella permanently buzzing over Americas cities and towns.

What Are The Benefits Of Drones In Law Enforcement

The drones used locally all have similar capabilities. They have two cameras one standard and one with infrared capabilities. They all can send back a live video feed to the operator or even post live on social media websites such as Facebook.

They also have attachments that can be added, such as a spotlight, a loudspeaker and a strobe light for night use.

Spot on patrol:Robotic police ‘dogs’ have privacy watchdogs worried

The Sudbury Police Department got its drone about a year ago, and it has been used at town events as well as at accident scenes and to search for missing people.

Its very useful for accident reconstruction, said Police Chief Scott Nix. You can actually document the accident scene from above and from several angles. With the appropriate software, it kind of maps the whole scene for you. Weve also deployed it when we have had missing people because it gives us a great aerial view.

Millis Police Chief Chris Soffayer said his department originally purchased a drone about two years ago. It has been a popular tool in town.

We got it initially for social media social media is big, he said. For example, if there is road construction going on we can use it to generate a detour map and put that up on social media.

The Wayland Police and Fire departments share a drone, acting Police Chief Sean Gibbons said. The main use will likely be search and rescue, but it is not in service because no one has yet been trained to use it, he said.

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Accident & Traffic Management

Drones can provide important information during major traffic accidents by visualizing the magnitude of the accident and its impact on traffic flow.

This information can help redirect traffic, and can also help incoming emergency units responding to other pressing issues around the accident prioritize their efforts, making the response as efficient as possible.

Find Out Local Drone Laws

Police use drone to arrest 2 in Stockton

If something seems suspicious, your next step is to find out the drone laws in your area. Youll need to nail down exactly what your complaint is before you can take it to the law.

The law thats being broken might not actually be a drone law there are also laws against harassment and spying that might cover your situation.

If the drone noise is an issue, you can check what the local noise regulations are in your area. However, if you think photos or videos of you or people you know are being taken, that will fall under privacy laws.

However, not many places have laws against drones taking pictures of property, so if thats the issue you might not have a case.

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Safety Still The Primary Concern Of Aviation Regulators

In the short term, the use of drones in Canada is fairly limited by safety concerns that prevent drones from operating in certain circumstances, and also by virtue of having to obtain an SFOC which is intended to be issued on a special case basis and is constrained to a geographic and time limitation. However, there has been a great deal of global movement to address safety concerns and ultimately expand the regulatory parameters around the use of UAVs in domestic contexts. These global developments will undoubtedly play an influential role on the future regulation of drones in the Canadian context.

Early in 2012, President Obama signed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which will provide funding to the Federal Aviation Authority over the next four years to establish safety rules that will accelerate the integration and broad civilian use of unmanned aircraft in U.S. airspace by 2015. The key sections direct the implementation of draft plans, standards, and rules to ensure that drone integration proceeds in a safe and legal manner.Footnote 50 Set in motion by $63 billion in funding and the relaxing of restrictions, the FAA is estimating that 30,000 drones will be approved to fly in U.S. skies in the next 20 years, up from the current 300 authorization certificates that have been issued to date.

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