It’s no longer unusual to see drones used for police work. Uncrewed systems are now essential tools for search and rescue missions, surveillance, criminal tracking, crowd control, and a host of other uses.

This increase in drone adoption by police professionals is reflected in recent economic studies. For example, a report from Allied Market Research valued the drones in public safety market at $1.2 billion in 2021. With “the increasing reliance on drone technology for public safety operations,” Allied Market Research expects the market to hit $3.7 billion by 2032, growing at a rate of 13.1% annually.

Below is a round-up of recent news reports concerning the use of drones by police departments.

  • Miami Beach Turned to Skydio Drones for Spring Break Security
    For this year’s college spring break, the Miami Beach Police Department planned to use drones to monitor crowds and assist with “traffic, staffing, and public safety.” In the past, the department has used its fleet of Skydio S2+, X2, and X10 drones “for traffic monitoring, accident reconstruction, and overwatch for large-scale public events,” including Art Week 2023 and New Year’s Eve.

  • UK Looks to Increase Spending on Drone Technology for Law Enforcement
    UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt has announced that “£230million will be earmarked to spend on 'time and money saving technology' for police forces.” These technologies include drones, which are currently being deployed by law enforcement agencies on a trial basis. In time, according to a report, “drones could soon be stationed on buildings and operated remotely to scenes to give the police early information.”

  • New Platform Could Increase Transparency Around Police Drone Operations
    AirData has introduced a drone fleet management platform that law enforcement professionals could use to make their work more transparent to the public. According to a report, AirData’s Public Portal program can increase public awareness of police drone operations and boost “public trust by improving accountability in drone use.”

  • Teledyne FLIR Offers Grant Assistance for Public Safety Drone Programs
    Thermal imaging leader Teledyne FLIR and have come together to support “eligible law enforcement agencies seeking public safety grants for their drone programs.” Through the collaboration, public safety agencies can receive help in finding grant opportunities, writing grant proposals, identifying drone resources, and more.

  • Duluth, MN Police Deploy Drones for Search and Rescue and Serving Warrants
    The Duluth, Minnesota police department created a drone unit last July. Since then, the department has used uncrewed technologies in many ways, including helping to locate a missing hiker and assisting officers in serving an arrest warrant. In all, the department has six drones used for outdoor operations and four small drones for indoor use to “help keep officers out of harm’s way.”

  • Dogs and Drones Partner for Safety in Ohio
    The Highland County (Ohio) Sheriffs’ Office has created a unique program that seeks to combine its K-9 unit with its drone fleet to improve public safety. Through training and coordination between drone operators and K-9 officers, local police hope to boost their benefit from both the “reconnaissance capabilities and thermal imaging technology” offered by drones and the scent-tracking and ground-based search capabilities of its trained dogs.

  • Situational Awareness and Documentation in Virginia
    Uncrewed aerial vehicles are now “an additional tool for first responders and provide enhanced operational capability, safety, and situational awareness in support of public safety” in Arlington, Virginia. According to a news report, drones will be deployed “by trained members of the Arlington County Fire Department, Police Department, Sheriff’s Office, and Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management. This technology complements the existing in-car and body-worn camera systems used to document digital recordings of public safety activity.”