Police officers, the stereotype goes, love coffee, donuts, and now perhaps drones. A new study from Bard College finds that an unprecedented number of law enforcement and emergency response departments purchased drones in 2016, a trend that doesn’t show any signs of slowing. The report lays out startling figures on drone purchases by police around the country, tracking the dramatic rise in police drone usage over the past few years.
According to the study, published April 6, all but seven states have at least one UAV 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.
The federal government is also