Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as “drones,” have been in use with the military and law enforcement agencies for several years. Over time, they have gotten smaller and more portable while their capabilities—silent operation, HD image capturing, FLIR night vision, etc.—have increased exponentially. Here are 10 reasons why every law enforcement agency and department needs to consider getting at least one drone for its arsenal.
1. UAVs can fly in adverse weather conditions, on accurate flight paths, autonomously under computer control. They’re operational 24/7.
2. Most UAVs can be stored in the trunk of a car and can be airborne within minutes, versus the hours it may take to secure a manned aircraft.
3. UAV operating costs are a fraction of what manned aerial vehicle operations demand, especially considering fuel, maintenance and pilot pay costs.
4. GPS navigation and fail-safes—such as “return to home” functions, restricted airspace geo-fencing and emergency landing programs—keep the craft and civilians below out of harm’s way.
5. UAVs provide an unparalleled vantage for ground forces below, with high-powered zoom lenses, infrared cameras and thermal imaging systems.
6. Most UAV craft can remain airborne for extended periods at high enough altitudes to remain both unseen and unheard, unlike full-sized aircraft.
7. No human capital is risked in the pilot seat. Period. And the entire flight can be pre-programmed from a laptop or tablet long before takeoff.
8. New UAV software allows encrypted video feeds from the craft to be viewed in real time, allowing users to obtain the latest information as it unfolds from the scene over the internet.
9. Today’s UAVs are able to navigate tight corners, crawlspaces and other interior structural terrain that would be impossible to approach in conventional manned aircraft.
10. UAVs are being developed to include sensor arrays, helping them avoid structures in their path, detect drugs and explosive compounds and more.
To learn more about unmanned aerial vehicles and their law enforcement applications, keep your eyes peeled for a full report in an upcoming issue of GUNS & WEAPONS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT. To subscribe, visit Tactical-Life.com/subscribe.