Washington State Patrol seems to have accumulated the largest fleet of drones for law enforcement. The agency now owns 111 drones which are used exclusively for crash investigations, reports OPB. In comparison, OPB noted that a study conducted at Bard College last year cited the Polk County Sheriff's Office in Florida as the largest drone fleet for public safety, with 20 units.
The drones are used exclusively for investigating collisions and crime scenes. Mapping a two-car collision using traditional methods (tape measure, chalk, or laser scanner) can take between 30 minutes and an hour. Mapping a two-car collision using a drone can take as little as ten minutes, Washington State Patrol told OPB.
Although not limited by state drone laws, the agency is strict about how its drones will be used. The drones are used for documenting serious crashes and fatality scenes. Any other uses that may come up, such as wildfire monitoring, will requre special permission from the chief of police.