Study Shows Use of Drones by Public Safety Agencies More than Doubled

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Drones are becoming an everyday tool for more and more police and fire departments across the country. According to a study conducted by the Center for the Study of the Drone at New York’s Bard College, the number of public safety agencies with drones has more than doubled since the end of 2016. In fact, approximately 900 police, sheriff, fire and emergency agencies now have drones. Of those 900 agencies, the highest number of agencies using drones come from the states of Texas, California and Wisconsin. Further, these agencies are using drones for an array of tasks –from accident scene investigations to guide-drones leading firefighters through flames, as well as for missing persons searches and hunts for murder suspects, drones have multiple uses that save time, money and lives. The study also found that some agencies are using drones to search for marijuana growing in cornfields and drug seizures as well. Agencies that the Center for the Study of the Drone collected data from stressed the fact that these agencies are using drones for emergency situations and not to spy on the public –most states, like Florida for example, require police to obtain a warrant before using drones in a criminal investigation. The study also found that most of the agencies with drones are smaller departments in rural areas. According to one individual from Ohio’s Putnam County sheriff’s department, Sheriff Brian Siefker, “The possibilities are endless.”

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