Tag Archives: law enforcement

Tijuana authorities plan to buy quadcopters from 3D Robotics to help in city surveillance tasks

According to a story published on UT San Diego, authorities in Tijuana, Mexico, are planning to buy several drones/multirotors from 3D Robotics  to “monitor traffic, evaluate accident scenes, detect landslides and control wildfires”.

The IRIS quadcopter from 3D Robotics
The IRIS quadcopter from 3D Robotics

“The main idea is that they help with surveillance of the city,” Major Jorge Astiazarán said in an interview. “This won’t just be used for public safety, but to see how the city is growing, discover clandestine dumps … monitor any land movement in a remote area that has gone undetected.”

The Y8 quadcopter from 3D Robotics, that comes with 8 motors, 2 on each arm
The Y8 quadcopter from 3D Robotics, that comes with 8 motors, 2 on each arm

Continue reading Tijuana authorities plan to buy quadcopters from 3D Robotics to help in city surveillance tasks

Italian police starts a drone surveillance program in Turin for security and law enforcement purposes

Italian Police have started a program to use multirotors for surveillance and law enforcement purposes in the city of Turin.

The drones – quadcopters in the available videos – are provided by the Italian/Swiss company Aerial View.

Aerial View Logo
Aerial View Logo

Click on the image below for the full story and the video on the Euronews website:

The quadcopter used in Turin, Italy, for law enforcement and surveillance purposes
The quadcopter used in Turin, Italy, for law enforcement and surveillance purposes

Here’s a statement from Omar Morando, Aerial View pilot:

“All the drones have a transmitter that sends in real time the video signal from the camera to a ground station, where there is a HD monitor that can visualise what the camera is recording. Besides you can see the same pictures with special glasses which have inside a micro-monitor. When you wear these glasses, you have the same sensation as you would watch a 42-inch monitor”

Source: Euronews

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Multirotor used to smuggle tobacco inside prison – Drone technology opens new routes for contraband

Staff member from the Calhoun State prison in Georgia spotted a suspicious “helicopter” flying over the prison.

Calhoun State prison
Calhoun State prison

Rather than an helicopter, it looks like something visitors of this site are very familiar with: a DJI F500 hexacopter with a NAZA flight board, controlled by a Spectrum DX radio:

DJI hexacopter used for contraband in an attempt top smuggle tobbacco inside a Georgia prison
DJI hexacopter used for contraband in an attempt top smuggle tobbacco inside a Georgia prison – source

This unusual visit prompted a search on the premises surroundings, and after an hour Deputies noticed a suspicious Dodge car with 4 people onboard, two males and two females, and the multirotor.

“Everybody had several cell phones with different contacts. People try different things but the helicopter was something new. It is a surprise I’ve never seen a helicopter. They were in the woods flying it they had binoculars evidently so they could watch it,” Hilton said.

Multirotor tobacco smugglers - source
Multirotor tobacco smugglers – source

Read the full story at walb.com

This had to happen sooner or later. Quadcopters and multirotors are an obvious easy way to bypass any kind of wall, perimeter, country border et-cetera, and maybe deliver illegal items such as drugs for example.

After all, with multirotor deliveries for books and pizza to start soon, the use of this technology for both law enforcement (12) and all sorts of illegal purposes is just a matter of time.

The rise and fall of UK Mereyside police drone

With the raise in availability of drone technology, Merseyside police in the UK thought it would be a good idea to acquire a drone, actually a 13.000£ quadcopter, to aid in law enforcement tasks.

Mereyside police drone

police drone



And here is the drone in operation live:

November 2009: Merseyside police acquires law enforcement quadcopter

The quadcopter is put to use, officers are trained.

February 2010: Merseyside police makes the first arrest in the UK based on drone technology, by helping in locating a car theft suspect – BBC article 

However about one week later, it turns out that the police did not have the required Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) permission to fly the quadcopter.

“CAA said it needed to be consulted over any use of the drones, that can fly up to 400ft and reach speeds of 30mph.”

February 2010: Merseyside police drone is grounded for the lack of the required flight permissions by the CAA – BBC article

The police subsequently filled out the required paperwork and obtained all the permissions to fly the drone.

The drone resumes operations.

October 2011Merseyside police drone crashes in river Mersey – see also here

During a flight training session the drone apparently looses battery power and crashes into a river. Officers responsible for the crash were “given advice” (a dressing down in police slang). The costs of the incident were covered by insurance. Interestingly

“during its use officers recognised certain technical and operational issues including staff training costs and the inability to use the UAV in all weather conditions.

“These issues in conjunction with the current financial climate resulted in the decision being made by chief officers not to replace the unit.”

October 2011: Merseyside police drone ceases operations

This story is very interesting as it is an example of trying to put to work an idea that in principle seems potentially productive, and then coming in touch with all the hidden problems involved and the technical and, not least, budget limitations. I think the idea was good but the technology was still too young in 2009 to make drone law enforcement become a reality on a limited budget. I would guess that if the very same program was started today, it would probably have more chances of success as there was so much research and development done from 2009 to today in multirotors technological development, navigation systems, better and lighter frames with higher payloads, longer flight times, better resistance to variable weather conditions etc.. We can see this as an early, brave experiment that failed. We’ll probably see other similar program succeed more and more in the future, as technology evolves and equipment prices drop steadily.

Controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio wants two drones for Maricopa County

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, also known as “America’s tougher sheriff”, wants two drones (why two and not more, I wonder) to help in law enforcement tasks in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Sheriff Joe Arpaio – photo source

He plans to use them in surveillance of areas difficult to reach otherwise.

“Surveillance regarding crime scenes and drugs [and] catching dope peddlers,”

“sometimes it’s difficult to get to these areas but if you have this great equipment to take pictures it would help.”

He also plans to fly the drones over local prison: “We do have some small problems with people throwing drugs over the fence.”

Watching US borders is also an application Arpaio has in mind: “we may use them go find dope peddlers coming into the United States, we make many drug seizures, we’re only 70 miles from the border,”

Read the original article at rt.com

If you live in Arizona beware: Sheriff Arpaio may soon be watching you from the sky. If you don’t live in Arizona don’t feel excluded. Somebody else will soon be watching you from the sky anyway. If it’s not happening already.

In Marseille police plans to use drones for law enforcement and surveillance purposes

Marseille Police chief Jen-Paul Bonnetain is pushing the idea of using drone based aerial surveillance to aid law enforcement and police investigations. The idea is strongly supported by socialist politician Eugène Castelli, who is ready to propose investments for millions of euros in the project.

Will Marseille become a test ground for a wider aerial surveillance program in France? Are we entering a science fiction era in which multicopters and personal, or less personal drones will be part of our everyday life?

surveillance drone

Source: Le Monde

UAV and law enforcement

Found this video that features a long interview to Prof. Alan Frazier on the subject of drone usage in law enforcement, in which he also answers questions from the public.
Prof. Frazier has a very particular curriculum, as he is both a Professor at the North Dakota University, Department of Aviation and Deputy Sheriff in the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department (link). This puts him in a strong position to deeply understand the technical and legal background of quadcopters, multirotors and more in general UAV usage, and to apply this knowledge in the field, as a law enforcement officer. For these reasons it is of particular interest to hear his views on the subject of UAV and law enforcement. Here’s the video:

For some quick examples of how drones were used recently by Prof. Frazier in the field, see this article