POLICE Magazine

NOV 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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26 POLICE NOVEMBER 2018 FEW LAW ENFORCEMENT TECHNOLOGIES have grown faster than unmanned aerial systems (UAS), what most people call drones. In 2014, POLICE ran an article ("Drones Grounded Until Fur- ther Notice," October 2014) about how law enforcement use of drones was stymied by a combination of FAA regulations and civil liberty concerns. Now, four years later it's estimated that a thousand or more agencies are operating drones. is massive growth in law enforcement use of drones can be traced to the FAA relaxing its requirement for agencies operating drones. You still have to jump through some hoops to start a UAS program, but the hoops are not nearly as narrow or as many as they were in 2014. POLICE contributor and certified air traffic controller Michael Hamann explained these regulations in detail in a January 2018 article titled "How to Implement and Justify a Drone Program." Essentially there are two processes through which public safety agencies can gain licensing from the FAA that allows them to fly drones commercially: certificate of authorization (COA) or Part 107 regulations. An agency must choose which process it wishes to follow, and it can't do both. e COA requires the applying agency to thoroughly docu- ment and self-certify their drones, pilots, and intended locations of operation. e Part 107 exemption requires less work than the COA process but it has more restrictions. Hamann wrote: "Drones operated under Part 107 must weigh less than 55 pounds and be registered as aircraft. Operators of the drone must be cer- tified as remote pilot operators with a small UAS rating. Once this process is complete, the agency is permitted to operate its drone in accordance with the provisions of Part 107, including obtain- ing instant airspace waivers through the future Low Altitude Au- thorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) program." What relaxed regulations under Part 107 have meant for law enforcement is that numerous agencies are now capable of using small drones in their operations. Even the smallest hobby drones can have application in police work. And the price of more so- phisticated drones, the type that have infrared imaging and oth- er powerful tools on board, has dropped substantially. e list of applications for drones in law enforcement opera- FROM FINDING LOST CHILDREN TO ALERTING A SWAT TEAM ABOUT A SUSPECT'S AMBUSH PLANS, POLICE DRONES ARE SAVING LIVES. DAVID GRIFFITH GUARDIANS IN THE SKY PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

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