Drones in Criminal Justice System

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Law enforcement officer’s main objectives are to deter crime in the most non-violent way possible, but more recently their objective has been more evidently to calm the situation and bring the perpetrator in at all costs. Militarism is an ideology focused on the best means to solve the problem (Kraska 503). Sometimes however, the best means aren’t the safest or most effective. There is an epidemic in unnecessary militarization in civilian policing (Kraska 145).Across the country heavily armed and Special Weaponry and Tactical units (SWAT) have forced their way into people’s homes, and now they have drones. The Mountain view, California SWAT team has been training on the tactical use of drones. They believe drones can help minimize the dangers police officers are exposed to. They have been working with the robotics community at the Stanford University Aerospace Robotics Laboratory, to calibrate drones in a way that meets the SWAT team’s needs. Their goal is to use the drones to limit injury or loss of life of citizens, suspects, or police officers (Burns, Jones, Morris 2010).During their training they preform scenarios that model incidents that have or may occur in real life. Throughout the training the robotics team and the SWAT team found many challenges. They discovered the team would have to take the time to plan the mission with the technology first rather than going in blind. They also found that the operator would need to be aware of the environment they were operating in, and the drone and the operator would need to work in unison. Since they were not aware of the environment they were operating in, during an exercise the unit asked the command post for a map of the building, but command sent them the wrong one. The drone could not get through the building because the operator did not have the correct map, thus drone cannot require accurate maps since they are often not available (Burns, Jones, Morris 2010).

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The other issue with drones aside from privacy violations, is the question of when does the power of these drones cross the line? Robotics organizations hope to create drones that can detain individuals that have violated the law, until the police arrive. The question then lies, what rights would these drones have. It is not likely that it would be accepted that a piece of technology had the ability to detain someone, even if there was a human operator on the other side. Who would be held liable if an armed drone shot and killed innocent person? These are the questions that should first be evaluated before arming drones, or using them in the battle against the war on crime. Is it safe to give that much power to a piece of technology? Technology is always changing, needing to be updated and is susceptible to hacking or technological viruses. With this notion in mind we can see a shift in governmental control.

Drones or AI are nothing less than human hunting technology in the service of pacification (Wall 2013). Drones used for the purpose of surveillance and in efforts to catch illicit activity, can be just as biased through class and race, just as a regular officers patrolling the streets. Since there is a need for security, companies buy into these products of drones and AI. They feed off of individuals insecurities and use them to justify the continual production of these technologies. This creates an interconnection of the state and the security industry. Just as with police patrolling the street, there can be a predisposal to racial and class bias. Minorities and poor neighborhoods are considered to have higher crime rates as opposed to other classes. Police will patrol these areas more for crime because of this belief. There is a distinct police role in facilitating authoritarianism and state violence (Seri 2012). By police creating this type of interconnection, there can be a lack of concern for others rights and wishes. By only having drones survey the lower class or minority areas, there is an atmosphere of authority and obedience, and a sense of freedoms being disparaged.

With drones, this issue can be intensified because it can result in a constant 24/7 surveillance of their community. The upper class that buys into this, for their peace of mind may not be bothered by this notion, but the people who are being surveyed 24/7 do not feel at ease. This creates a shift towards a Marxist type of government where individuals ae controlled by this. Citizens who buy into the capitalist system of security want to be protected by the law from other dangerous classes in society. With the use of these technologies already in place, we can combine them with the drone system and AI. Drones can be equipped with shot spotter, facial recognition, surveillance, night vision, and more. The possibilities are endless. We need to question however, why the government feels the need to put these technologies into place. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, crime rates have dropped from 51.7% in 1979 to 15.0% in 2010 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2010). If crime rates are continuing to drop, why does the United States feel the need to advance their domestic security? This could be an effect of the public security market growth. Citizens want to feel safe, with the social contract people buy into this idea of giving up certain freedoms for safety. Drones are a technological sublime that points to the dream of securing the insecurity of domestic order (Wall 2013). Many departments have already purchased drones for surveillance purposes, but have not yet equipped them with any other forms of weaponry/ technology.

Employment of police drones create new configurations of state power and accumulation. Although police officials justify drones by claiming they are cheaper than helicopters and better to protect officers from harm’s way, discourses of security remain the most forceful argument, as police officials routinely exclaim drones offer an extra layer of public safety (Wall 2013).

State power is the ability of astateto regulate behaviors and enforce order within its territory. Under Marxism people in power use their influence over others to control them. Citizens who buy into the capitalist system of security want to be protected by the law from other dangerous classes in society. According to Marx, law controls the assent of the majority (Lainer, Henry and Anastasia, 2015). Bourgeois law serves as the capitalist power holders, who use it to retain or increase their power or control.individuals are both controlled and defined by the law (Lainer, Henry and Anastasia, 2015).

It has been predicted for several years now that technology will advance beyond our imagination. Drones and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will undoubtedly figure into crime prevention and crime control, as it is already being implemented. Though there are just as many negative aspects of these types of technology being incorporated into today’s police force as there are positive, this implementation will continue. As Saudi Arabia could be considered the city of the future, other countries will follow. Drones and AI are the technology that government officials will obtain as a tool for police department tactical use for domestic security. As technology advances so does the nature of crime prevention; as crime progresses, so does the ways in which we fight it.

As Hollywood media sources have dramatized the reality of AI, viewers can imagine a world like that, and become more desensitized to the harsh reality of the future of criminal justice. With drones currently being implemented into today’s police and military tactics, the uses of this technology will expand. As previously stated, state power is the ability of astateto regulate behaviors and enforce order within its territory and citizens who buy into the capitalist system of security want to be protected by the law from other dangerous classes in society. Bourgeois law serves as the capitalist power holders, who use it to retain or increase their power or control.individuals are both controlled and defined by the law (Lainer, Henry and Anastasia, 2015). This coupled with the interconnection of the state and the security industry, can create an authoritarian state. If drones and AI are to be implemented and applied, the criminal justice system has to first be fixed before more advancements can be adopted. As media sources have predicted, drones and AI truly are the future or the criminal justice system.

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Drones In Criminal Justice System. (2019, Aug 10). Retrieved February 8, 2023 , from

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