POLICE Magazine

SEP 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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SPONSORED CONTENT rial mission. A camera with zooming abil- ity is also useful in an overhead situ- ational awareness mission. • Extended bat- tery life. e longer you are in the air performing the mis- sion instead of going back and forth to the landing zone for battery replacement is helpful to all involved. An extra two min- utes of flight time can be essential to find the lost hiker. • Durability. A larger more powerful 102 POLICE SEPTEMBER 2018 T here is wide agreement that drones have been a game-changer in the fields of law enforcement and search and rescue. From locating missing per- sons, traffic collision reconstructions, real-time investigations, crime scene analysis, disaster response and surveil- lance, drones offer law enforcement agen- cies a bird's eye view of scenes which un- til recently were unavailable. One of the most obvious benefits of drones is their ability to reach places that are either un- attainable or too dangerous for humans. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have also become the preferred vehicle for data gathering and other routine functions once only reserved for costly helicopters. In many ways, drones are the future of crime fighting and search and rescue operations. "When selecting a UAV for law enforcement, you need to consider what the mission will be," said Sergeant D. Marek of the Nevada Highway Patrol. "UAV's are particularly help- ful in three missions – crime scene/crash documentation, search and rescue and over- head situational awareness." When looking for a UAV that can assist in all three missions, Marek looks for the following characteristics: • Ease of use and setup on scene. Op- erators should be able to get to the scene and power up the controller that has a built-in screen, all within five minutes. • Multiple payloads which are able to be swapped out. A fixed focus camera with a high resolution can be used when documenting a crime scene. However, an infrared camera would be a benefit in a search and rescue or hazardous mate- efficiently in less than ideal weather conditions and have less than desirable operating systems. It's not uncommon for some organizations to purchase consumer drones at the frac- tion of the cost of ones with commercial applications, with the belief they can perform the same tasks while at the same time showing a cost savings to their bottom line. Nothing can be further from the truth. Manufac- turers don't design consumer drones for commercial UAV purposes and crossing the lines usually result in damage to the technology purchased and certainly in substandard re- sults of fulfilling the task at hand, potentially grounding the important eyes-in-the-sky at critical points in the opera- tion. Furthermore, consumer drones lack the sophisticated ground station necessary to perform tasks associated with commercial usage. Operators are also utilizing less-expen- sive consumer drones for com- mercial purposes to cut their losses in the event of a fatal malfunction to the product. THE DEMANDS While drones continue to expand their reach and value in the law enforcement industry, the demand for sophisticated de- tail has outpaced the industry's obligation to provide a more affordable solution to meet its customer's demands. Desired and necessary features such as extended flight time, maximum optical zoom capacity, megapixel cameras and high-definition video display come with a hefty price tag. MIKE KAHN/ AEE CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER Cost-Effective DRONE SOLUTIONS Can Help Police Save Lives IMAGES PROVIDED COURTESY OF SUNDANCE MEDIA GROUP UAV is better for flights in strong winds and allows for the pilot to maintain visual contact at greater distances. When lives are at stake, it can be dif- ficult to speak about cost and efficiency, two words which have a misunderstood relationship in the drone industry. e sticker shock associated with the price of a high-end commercial drone can be jaw-dropping. Law enforcement agen- cies and search and rescue operations, for examples, are spending up to as much as $25,000 for UAVs that are limited in flight time and radius, lack the ability to operate

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