In 2010, Miami-Dade County Police became the first law enforcement department in the nation to buy a drone. The $50,000, military-grade flying robot was paid for with a U.S. Department of Justice grant. But although buying an expensive drone is easy enough, figuring out how to legally fly what is basically a garbage can full of privacy-invading cameras is hard to do. So MDPD’s drone has sat virtually unused since 2011.
That fact did not deter Miami Beach Police from recently buying two drones for $17,000.
City Manager Jimmy Morales announced the robo-buy in a letter to the Miami Beach City Commission last week, stating the department believed it needed a drone to monitor “life-threatening” situations in the Beach’s high-rises. If a crazed person with a gun is barricaded inside a