The implementation of new drone technology are being used to assess the crime situations in several ways. Not only it helps the law enforcement solve the cases faster, it collects all the data from aerial that is useful for preventing the crimes and assisting with the public service. As I mentioned previously that the drones are incredible at getting all the data that the law enforcement needs to assess and solve the cases. According to Center for the Study of Drones at Bard College, there are at least 347 U.S agencies that are currently using the drones for multiple purposes. There are at least several ways that the drones will benefit the law enforcement agencies: analyzing the crime scenes, investigating active shooters / suspects, providing real-time surveillance, crowd monitoring and control.
First and foremost, the drones gives the investigators tools they need to get by mapping out the data first. It operates in the same way the drones can be used for reconstructing the traffic collision maps. Fundamentally, the data captured by the drones provides an accurate view of the actual crime scene instead of using animated representations that expands and allows the details to be noticed after preliminary analysis is completed.
Secondly, the drones helps keep tab on the active shooter and suspects. By tracking down the suspects, the drone provides aerial intelligence to the ground-based units to maintain safe distance from those people who are believed to be armed and dangerous. Not only it helps ensure that the lives of communities and police officers are put in dangerous, the aerial intelligence gives the officers information that they need to assess threat while formulating an effective strategy.
Third, the drones brings completely new method for the police officers to perform their job better. Fixed cameras mounted on the traffic light poles and body worn cameras are the technology of past. Drones are quickly becoming the technology of future, all thanks to its high mobility, flexibility and adaptability. They are incredible useful for scouting out the areas first that otherwise brings no favorable advantages for the law enforcement agencies. In these kind of situations, flying the drones over the areas provides a better view without having to compromise the police officers’ safety.
Lastly, the drones can be utilized to monitor the crowds and control them effectively. Large gatherings such as concerts and protests can be especially a daunting task for ground-based units. But, the drones lets the law enforcement agencies see depp in the crowd. If someone commits a crime and tries to run away, the aerial intelligence will let the police officers track the suspect through the crowd without endangering bystanders’ life. It is the same true for someone who needs assistance but is unable to notify the authorities.
All of these examples are what the law enforcement agencies are using to enhance their job performance and serving the public better. The aerial capabilities provides the law enforcement much needed intelligence collection to detect, prevent and reduce the crimes that is otherwise challenging to body-worn and fixed cameras.While the general public consensus shows 36% approves of police using drones. Only 39% of the public disapprove while 25% remains neutral according to Center for the Study of Drones at Bard College. But, the general trend seems to be going in a positive direction as the drone pilots and industries are taking the mantle to train newcomers and educate the communities to shift the perspective on the drones.
The main concern with how the community interacts with the drones has to do with the current privacy laws. As of current, they do not address the drones flown by the public or non-governmental organizations which leaves the privacy controls largely undetermined. If one were to fly their drones and unintentionally capture footage of people doing with their normal life. As of the result, some public resisted adoption of the drones.
Another main concern is providing the police proper training in how to operate the drones before they get licenses by the civil aviation authorities, since that the cost to train on how to operate drones can be quite expensive. Even though so, the law enforcement agencies assured that the drones are being intended for the purpose to reduce the crimes and rescue missions. The Federal Aviation Administration came into the action after President Obama signed a law that lets the agencies plan for safe integration of civilian drones into the United States airspace by 2015. As of current, the debate using the drones for surveillance openly are being hotly debated.
For instance, in 2013 Seattle grounded the police drone program after holding a public hearing that drew vocal opposition from the people regarding the instructions into their private lives. While the drones would have allowed the city to have the benefits of public safety at reduced cost over manned helicopter. But the public concern was widespread whose the opponents shouted down and feared misuse.
But in the Great Falls, Montana, the community reaction to the use of police drones are different compared to Seattle. According to Great Falls Tribune, the police department actually flown drones on 14 different missions including three major crime scenes, three investigations and high risk operations. Furthermore, they also used drones on five search and rescue efforts, two missing children and a public relations project. In fact, 7 of the police officers are FAA-certified. While there are some concerning regarding privacy concerns. But they don’t use drones for low-intensity traffic enforcement, instead they are being used for high-risk situations. Their drone policy is designed around safety and privacy which is 100% response-based.While there isn’t enough hard data regarding drones reducing the overall crime rate. It is relatively new and already shows that it is a promising solution for the law enforcement to protect and serve the public better. There are several case studies where the drones reduced the crimes. For instance, in Ensenada, a Mexican city reported that their overall crime rate decreased by 10%. Along with the drop, they also saw 30% decrease in home robberies and 500 arrests was made this year thanks to just one drone (WIRED).
This is the latest example of drones slowly finding their place in the civilian life. As it goes to shows how important and essential that a drone can be used as a tool that benefits both the public communities and law enforcement agencies. The police used it as a present case of unmitigated success that reduces the response time. Additionally, to help them deploy rapid responses that provides the police departments a complete overview of what’s going on before reaching to the scene. That way the police officers are prepared to handle the situation in advance.
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