Police Use of Drone Surveillance Technology




Parten, Janet L.

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


Technology in the 21st Century has many advantages for society; however, the advantages available to law enforcement are far more prevalent than those for everyday society. The use of unmanned aircrafts or “drones” has seen a significant rise among law enforcement and has proven to be a successful tool in many aspects of the job. Drones are being used by not only law enforcement, but other first responders, such as fire departments and emergency medical services, for a wide variety of reasons. These unmanned aircrafts have been drafted and adapted for use in finding lost citizens in areas that are inaccessible to pedestrian or motor traffic during searches. There have been instances where video cameras and FLIR infrared cameras have been attached to drones to find subjects at large or to track heat signatures in hostage situations. The use of the surveillance technology is immeasurable in value in the aspect of public safety. The ability to survey an area during an active crime or investigation is imperative, with the added benefit of having low visibility by suspects or wanted persons. The concerns that the public has in the use of drones with any surveillance operation would be infringing on a person’s civil rights and if it is protected against unlawful searches or seizures. Some feel that the use of a drone with a camera attached, to monitor an area, may be a very intrusive action. Law enforcement officers must keep to their oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States as well as all civil liberties afforded to those we are sworn to protect.



Police--Equipment and Supplies, Drone Aircraft