Drones are aircraft that can fly without a human onboard. Drones can fly either by remote control or on a predetermined flight path (Thompson 2012). Drones can range from size of an insect to the size of a jet. Drones are most known for their missions that are aboard that try to target suspected members of Al Qaeda, however they are used on US soil also by one law enforcement agency, The Department of Homeland. In the United States alone, approximately 50 companies, universities, and government organizations are developing and producing over 155 unmanned aircraft designs.
The Department of Homeland uses Drones to police the nations borders to deter unlawful border crossing by unauthorized aliens, criminal and terrorist and to detect and interdict the smuggling of weapons and drugs. Customs and Border Protection uses them to patrol along the US/Mexican border. Drones have a number of benefits for Law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement agencies consider drones an inexpensive way to get better situational awareness during dangerous operations, such as drug busts and hostage situations, can enter environments that are dangerous to human life Firefighters are also investigating drones and how they may help them scout wildfires, identify hard-to-locate hotspots, or find trapped people in areas that helicopters can’t reach. Some police departments are testing them for uses such as photographing accident sites and finding criminal suspects.
The uses of drones are very efficient. First of all they are cost benefit. Drones themselves are much cheaper than helicopters or other aircraft, plus they cost much less to operate per hour than do other aircraft. Unmanned aircraft will make certain activities easier, safer, more efficient, and more cost effective. Secondly drones will take significant danger away from law enforcement officials who put their lives at risk every day. With the risk of danger officers can function much more normally than having to worry about the dangers that come with the job as much. Finally, they are effective in tracking down illegal activity and can carry our dangerous surveillance tasks.
Drones can help the law enforcement agencies out in a multitude of ways. They can help monitor a heavy crown situation. They can go in locations that helicopters or other vehicles cannot go when searching for something or someone. With a drone it can definitely extend the existing capabilities of law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement authorities say drones can be a cost-effective technology to help with a host of policing efforts, like locating bombs, finding lost children, monitoring weather and wildlife or assisting rescue workers in natural disasters.
The FAA sends out Certificates of Authorizations (COAs) to fly unmanned aircraft. Since January 2012, according to congressional testimony presented the Federal Aviation Administration has authorized 106 federal, state and local government “entities” to fly drones, within U.S. airspace. Only federal, state, and local government agencies can apply for a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA); private sector entities must apply for special airworthiness certificates in the experimental category. Such as NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other federal agencies, police departments and universities can apply for these certificates of authorization.
The rule announced today calls for agencies to first show they can operate a drone before getting an FAA permit. Drones must fly within 400 feet of the ground, remain in sight of the operator and stay clear of airports, unless they have received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration. Police, fire and similar departments will be able to fly drones weighing as much as 25 pounds.
When the FAA issues out authorizations out, the FAA requires the drone operators to be licensed pilots in manned aircraft. This is because the person operating the drones needs experience in flying. They must also receive training in the drone they will be flying. The sensor operators do not need-manned aircraft certificates; just training in the environment the (drone) will be flying and the equipment itself. When regulating the use the use of drones only the FAA regulate the use of drones. The Federal Aviation Administration authorizes military and non-military (academic institutions; federal, state, and local governments including law enforcement entities; and private sector entities) UAS operations on a limited basis after conducting a case-by-case safety review,
It is clear that drones are useful for surveillance and law enforcement while creating significant concerns over privacy rights. Opponents of drone surveillance have complained that the use of unmanned aircraft on American soil infringes upon fundamental privacy interest and the ability to freely associate with others. Many say that drone violate the privacy rights that are in the Fourth Amendment. However some still feel that drones are beneficial when used correctly. Lawmakers in at least 11 states are proposing various restrictions on the use of drones The city of Charlottesville, Va., passed a two-year moratorium and police officers are prohibited from using in criminal cases any evidence obtained by drones. In Florida, a pending bill will require the police to get a warrant to use drones in an investigation; a Virginia statewide moratorium on drones passed both houses.
International Association of Chiefs of Police has guidelines for law enforcement agencies to use drones. The IACP has created recommended guidelines for the use of unmanned aircraft and I have attached it to this paper. The highlights of the guidelines are Equipping the aircraft with weapons of any type is strongly discouraged, and drones equipped with cameras or other sensors is strongly discouraged due to concerns over reliability and safety.
As of right now the state of Mississippi has no recorded use of drones. However I feel that the Mississippi Department of Public Safety would be a great program to have the use of a drone. Mississippi Department of Public Safety encompasses the Highway Patrol and Bureau of Investigation, which are vital aspects in the law enforcement field in this state. Drones can be very beneficial to these law enforcement agencies. Drones can be used in the Highway patrol department in assessing car accident or routine traffic problems that occur on a daily basis. Also monitoring intersections, overpasses and rest stops that are on interstates. With the Bureau of Investigation, drones can help find clues about murder or robbery cases. Also can help out in missing person cases and fires that were suspected of arson. These law enforcement agencies can greatly benefit from the use of drone if the drones are used correctly.
In conclusion the use of drones should be greatly considered as long as laws are in placed to help control them. The law enforcement agencies can really use the drones to speed up and actually account for things involved in a crime. Guidelines should be in place for drones so that they would not interfere so much with the constitutional rights that citizens are given.
Courtney from Study Moose
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