This month, various police departments have decided to add or have added drones to their fleets.
The Savannah Police Department in Georgia has spent a year researching how to use unmanned drones and plans to deploy three, with its first drones added as early as next year, The Telegraph reported. They will be used to photograph crime scenes and major traffic crashes, deployed for search and rescue operations, and to aid police in hunting criminal suspects.
The Spokane, Wash., City Council just passed a proposal that will allow its Police Department to start using drones, KXLY reported. The ordinates lists specific activities permitted for drone use, including crime scene investigations, active shooter situations, searches for missing people, locating homeless camp sites, and SWAT situations. They cannot go on private property without a warrant.
The Portsmouth, N.H., has received a $69,600 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase a small drone and train officers on use and maintenance, according to Sea Coast Online. The police chief stressed that they are for limited use, and citizens retain their fourth amendment rights protecting against illegal search and seizure.
Elected leaders at the City of Aurora, Ill., recently voted to spend $56,000 on four drones for the city — three for the Police Department and one for the Information Technology Department, the Chicago Tribune reported. The decision was made after emergency officials recently used more than 80 people, including a helicopter, to look for a missing man.
The City of Boise, Idaho, has purchased four drones, and four officers have been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to pilot them, according to a release from the Police Department. It was been evaluating drone use for the past year. The department highlighted one potential use for the drones: to expedite traffic investigations. Currently, a ladder truck is used to facilitate aerial images of a crash scene. Other uses include use during hazardous incidents involving officers, searching for a barricaded subject or a missing child, or being able to respond more safety to burglar alarms.