Nearly 100 law enforcement agencies statewide maintained a drone in 2020, according to the report. - Photo: Unsplash/Thomas Galler

Nearly 100 law enforcement agencies statewide maintained a drone in 2020, according to the report.

Photo: Unsplash/Thomas Galler

The Department of Safety for the State of Minnesota has released its 2020 Drone Report, revealing information about how the state's law enforcement agencies use their drones. The information provided to and compiled by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) in the report covers the reporting period between January 1 through December 31, 2020.

Interesting takeaways include:

  • In 2020, Minnesota law enforcement agencies spent a total of $922,410.71 on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) agency programs.
  • Between 93 sheriff's departments, police departments, and "others" (state patrol, metro transit, etc.) reporting, there were 1,171 total uses without a warrant. The full report includes a list of reasons the drones were used without a warrant. 

Laws of Minnesota 2020, Chapter 82, was signed into law on May 16, 2020, and requires all law enforcement agencies that maintain or use a UAV, also known as a drone, to report the following data by January 15 regarding the prior calendar year: the number of times a UAV was deployed without a search warrant; the date of each deployment; the authorized use for each deployment; and the total cost of the agency’s UAV program.

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