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How drones can fit into and support community policing programs

Through community partnerships, agency leaders can make choices on UAS deployment that match the needs of their community

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How do we remain community-oriented and simultaneously use unmanned flight technology?

Community policing balances our response with proactive problem-solving through partnerships. This helps us identify and effectively address issues. If we consider UAS deployment as a method for assisting with problems, it’s not at all in conflict with the community approach.

Think of the UAS in the same way we think about police dogs. There are agencies that only use dogs for search and rescue. In contrast, there are other agencies that may use drug-sniffing dogs, while other agencies rely on dogs for patrol operations.

Simply put, the UAS is just another tool that can assist both us and our community. Through community partnerships, agency leaders can make choices on UAS deployment that match the needs of our community.

For example, a rural county in the middle of nowhere may rely on the UAS strictly for search and rescue operations. In contrast, urban police departments might use this technology for lawful surveillance or to assist with crimes in progress.

When you consider all of the options, it’s possible and reasonable to have a UAS program while also adhering to a community-oriented policing model. Don’t limit your ability to provide valuable services to our community, and don’t forget to have a conversation in advance with community leaders about this exciting technology. Communication with the public is essential if we’re going to get the buy-in that is so necessary.

And that is today’s tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

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Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.