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Drone school for law enforcement?

Discussion in 'Inspire 1 Discussion' started by pokercop, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. pokercop

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    My department is becoming more and more interested in the possibility of incorporating drones for forensics, search & rescue, crime scene, etc. People up the chain have noticed the fact that I fly them frequently and have started asking lots of questions. I am going to put something together to present to them and will suggest the Inspire 1 platform.

    Question 1: I have read somewhere that police departments are getting exemptions for using drones to assist in our line of work... Can someone provide something to corroborate this?

    Question 2: I have also read that there may be a school somewhere that certifies law enforcement officers to pilot drones. Can anyone provide info on that?

    Thanks!
     
  2. PetePerrim

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    I have done some preliminary work with the New Zealand Police in this area as well. The legalities of using drones for obtaining evidence is quite a minefield and simply getting an exemption is not as easy as all that. It actually requires whole laws to be rewritten which could either a) never happen or b) take decades. Its crazy that such a useful piece of technology can be stymied by defence lawyers looking for loop-holes. I think they are all clear to use them in situations where they may be hunting an intruder or a felon who may be hiding in a localized area, they are also using them for search and rescue here now although the Police themselves have not yet gone ahead and obtained them. My recommendation to them was to adopt the Phantom 2 due to its size, portability, flight time, ruggedness and relative low cost for the inevitable crashes and losses. Hope this may help?
     
  3. ISP5557

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    Question 1 Answer: There are no exemptions for law enforcement anywhere in the United States. You must follow the FAA guidelines for Commercial/Governmental usage ie: Manufactures training, pass the pilots knowledge exam, pass a class two physical, and apply for a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) My department is in the process and it has taken almost two years. I think there are only two or three departments in the United States who have active COA's My department will probably be the first State Wide agency to possess one. But there is one other State that is about in the same spot as we are.

    Question #2 Answer: The manufacturer must perform the training. Myself and the other three pilots for my department went to the University of North Dakota for training on the specific UAV that we fly.

    The above said, the FAA is going to be coming out with new rules and regs for UAV operation that could change the above. Since we started there have been numerous changes in the process.
     
  4. bill

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    FYI.. Some states like South Carolina have in place or are in the process of writing specific laws restricting drone use by law enforcement. For example, the South Carolina proposed law (unanimously approved in the house) expressly prohibits the use of drones without a specific search warrant. http://benswann.com/south-carolina-house-passes-legislation-100-0-to-ban-drones/ No such proposals exist for individual private or commercial use.

    This may indicate public opinion is more concerned about individual privacy vs government use of this tech. Interestingly enough, individual citizens don't appear to be as concerned about appropriate personal/recreational and business use. Antidotally, based on the people I have meet at parks where I have flown the Inspire 1, they seem to be excited about the Inspire and the cool factor. When I have asked about their thoughts if the police were using them, their smile turns upside down and their head begins to shake back and forth.

    So, I wouldn't be surprised if you had a different response from the citizenry when you fly with a uniform on. Is it warranted, probably not really; but in the light of the NSA spying and drone media attention "it is what it is"; you would likely want to have a good public relations blitz. I defiantly see a need though.

    I wish you the best of luck! It would be really cool if you got paid to do what you love... :)
     
  5. wincrasher

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    Exactly! Most people don't have a problem with individuals using drones for fun or commerce. They have a REAL problem with the government or police using them to spy on the citizenry. I wish FAA understood that and act accordingly.
     
    turbodronepilot likes this.
  6. pokercop

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    Thank you for your comments. They wouldn't be used as evidence but rather (my best guess) to do things like find someone lost on a trail, find missing people wandering in the desert, locate drug load vehicles, photograph large crime scenes, SWAT (is the bad guy with a gun on the roof or backyard)... Etc.

    I understand there will be red tape. I just need to find what and how I need to get the ball rolling.
     
  7. DCGOO

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    Great idea. But don't forget you only have about 15 minutes of flight at a time.
     
  8. diverreb

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    You might want to consider something that lets you carry a camera with a telephoto lens for your purposes. That would allow surveillance from a greater distance without alerting the suspects. There are also birds with much longer flying times, but they are also a lot more expensive, like eight to ten times more.
     
  9. ISP5557

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    Thank you all for your replies. Bill you are correct, my state adopted the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act which outlines the possible uses for the UAV we deploy. Our statute says we must have legal standing to fly over and photograph any private property. This means we must either have a search warrant, consent, a natural disaster and be in the search and recovery mode, or the immediate threat to human life. I am good with all those. Government needs its checks and balances. Besides we have much better tools for surveillance, its called Facebook and social media. Who needs to surreptitiously spy on people when most of the public tells everyone when they take a crap everyday. 99% of our UAV usage will be for documentation of outdoor crime scenes and fatal crashes. You all should not fear what I am doing with the UAV, you should fear what the private citizen is doing with it. As of now there are absolutely no checks and balances for what Joe citizen wants to do with his UAV. He can fly over your house below 400 AGL and video all day and post it to the Interweb and there is nothing you can do about it. You do not own the air rights above your property. If I screw up and do something stupid then you file a 4th amendment violation law suit on me and my kid doesn't go to college. It is not worth my job to do something even remotely unethical with the UAV. Besides, Wincrasher, we own these things called helicopters and airplanes. We have several of those and I can fly over your house all day or night and video and photograph above 400 AGL and the Supreme Court says I am golden without a warrant or consent. Make you feel warm and fuzzy inside? Seriously, the UAV is a tool just like a Disto or a Total station theodolite. It saves time, manpower, fuel, and provides a better work product thus saving the taxpayer money. I think we can all agree that is a good thing.
     
  10. Rig

    Rig

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    I too am also researching this and presenting to the local SAR unit and Sheriff deputy this March. I agree with most all that has been stated here, and won't repeat. SAR use is legallized as an exception under my state's legislation, so the concerns that we are currently focusing on are federal legality (COAs, FAA, PPC), liability insurance, and city approval (City Counsel approval, political climate). As mentioned, when the FAA finally releases their regs this entire ecosystem will change.

    I wish you the best in this common goal. Please post your progress here.
     
  11. RobertLamb

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    I am total newbie in the topic of pilot drones, but once I have gone through a blog on law and there I got to know a little bit about the pilot drones. But I am eager to know much more about the topic. Can anybody suggest me the site where I can get the exact information on pilot drones? One can checkout the blog at this weblink.
     
  12. Talon Six

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    I'd recommend contacting this lawyer who specializes in helping public agencies get their COA. There are some weird quirks for public agencies, but generally it is easier than getting a 333 exemption, nor is a licensed pilot required (although your city attorneys may demand pilots who hold an airman certificate to reduce liability).

    Good luck!
     
  13. Outta Control

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    Did a quick Google search and came up with this. Good Luck.

    UAV Law Enforcement Training & Services - Strat Aero

    UAV Pilot Training School UAV Pilot Certification Training
     
  14. bluethundr

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    Question 1...no 333 exemption needed. You can get a COA for your agency and then that agency can certify its own pilots. No pilots license or any type of medical needed. This is the way the several agencies have gone with.

    Question 2. no such school exists that makes you FAA CERTIFIED. You can pay out the nose for a school that can show you how to operate a UAS but no such "certification for UAS" is in existence. However some schools do offer training and they are priced quite fairly.