To watch over high-crime areas in major cities is expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, it is simple to understand why the use of unmanned drones can help law enforcement fight crime.
UAVs have been used for observation to help the missions that are associated with kidnappings, drug interdictions, search and rescue operations and runaway investigations. The FBI revealed a letter to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) in 2013, who had enquired about use of drones by FBI. Since late 2006, the FBI has conducted surveillance using UAVs in eight criminal cases including the incident of Dykes and two national security cases.
According to technology futurist Gray Scott, the revolution of the drone is just getting started. Scott says, “We are right on the tip of the iceberg”. Within the next five years, I believe we’re going to see a saturation of drones in the United States; they’re going to be extremely common everywhere.
Assume a child goes missing at a crowded area. Police scrutiny drones built with cameras, license-plate readers, and facial-recognition software can soon increase the probability of locating them within one day. It is 50 times faster than people doing a search on bikes, motorcycles or on foot.
Future iterations of CSI, Crime Scene Investigation, may feature drones as leading characters, as UAVs are assured to play a starring role at future crime scenes. Drones would help police to locate discarded murder weapons, or generate maps that support in solving and prosecuting crimes. If someone ran down our street and starts to shooting at people, we can fly a drone through and map it electronically.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in 2012 published a list of recommended guidelines for the use of UAVs in law enforcement which include:
- Police must get warrants to operate drones where subjects have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
- Police must not maintain images seized by drones unless they are related to a crime.
- Police must provide a meaningful notice of drone use for the public.
- Drones utilization by police must be subject to tracking and audits, with accountability for illegal use.
- Weaponized drones must not be used by Police.
Watch a video of police drone catching runaway drunks: