Utilizing drones for situational awareness during adversarial crises

In the future, it is conceivable that drones could be first responders to active shooter incidents


The proliferation of police drones, or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), is generating new ways to use the technology in different aspects of policing.

UAS use by law enforcement has sparked debate among privacy groups about potential abuse. There is less discussion about how they can increase community safety and inform decision-making during critical incidents. Specifically, can they decrease the amount of time it takes to gain situational awareness [1] during a crisis, such as an active shooter event?

Despite public concerns, many agencies across the nation have created successful UAS programs. One department in Southern California is answering radio calls with UAS while SWAT teams across the country are using them to clear the inside of structures before entry. These are just two of the novel ways in which agencies are using UAS technology to increase safety for all concerned.

Law enforcement should continue developing new uses for UAS in adversarial conflicts such as hostage situations, officer rescues and active shooter events. Specifically, police leaders need to look at how this technology can lessen the time it takes to gain situational awareness, thereby increasing the tempo of an operation?

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