In small unmanned aerial drones, police and firefighters have discovered a useful new tool, with at least 347 agencies in 43 states now flying them.
Drone deployment by law enforcement and municipalities began more than a decade ago when it was just an emerging technology with extremely limited use. But those days are over: Last year, more public agencies acquired drones than in all previous years combined, with at least 167 departments fielding the flying robots in 2016, according to a study released April 6 by Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone.
Texas and California agencies lead the public safety acquisitions, with 28 and 23, respectively, followed by Alabama (20); Wisconsin (18); and Ohio and Pennsylvania (13). All but seven states have at least one unmanned aerial vehicle operated by police, sheriffs, emergency response, or fire departments, the report found.
It’s not just the cops who have the ability