Police officers, the stereotype goes, love coffee, donuts, and now perhaps drones. A new study from Bard College published on April 6 found that an unprecedented number of law enforcement and emergency response departments purchased unmanned aerial vehicles in 2016, a trend that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The report lays out startling figures on drone purchases around the country, tracking the dramatic rise in police drone usership over the past few years.
According to the study, all but seven states have at least one unmanned aerial vehicle operated by police, sheriffs, emergency response, or fire departments. Without ruling out the possibility that it missed a significant number of drone purchases, the report says that “at least 347 state and local [agencies] in the U.S. have acquired drones.” In 2016, more of the departments studied acquired drones than in all previous years, combined.