Editor’s note: Law enforcement agencies nationwide are adopting unmanned aerial systems (UAS) – also known as drones – for operations as diverse as search and rescue, traffic accident reconstruction and SWAT response. PoliceOne’s special coverage series – 2018 Guide to Drones in Law Enforcement – takes an in-depth look at considerations for police departments looking to implement a UAS program.
Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) – more commonly referred to as drones – are poised to transform law enforcement operations at a level not seen since the introduction of body-worn cameras. The technology has exploded in recent years, and the relatively low cost of drones means agencies of all sizes can utilize them. For larger agencies, a drone is an essential addition to an air unit that can significantly reduce operational expenses. For smaller agencies, drones provide an airborne asset that was previously financially out of reach.