No runway needed

The role UAVs can fulfill in law enforcement


What it takes

Adelman suggests agencies hire someone familiar with the regulations, someone who can look at the airspace and the mission and help establish an operation plan. This will eventually lead to the creation of a risk management process for operating.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems — Public Safety Solutions Team (UAS-PSST) Chief Executive Officer Leonard Ligon agrees. “Allow an objective team to come in and look at your system, what it’s going to do, what the owner says its going to do, and what you need for your mission,” he says. UAS-PSST provides public safety with regulation-compliant solutions in regard to UAVs. Ligon has worked with a number of universities around the country with COAs: University of Alaska, the University of Kansas, the University of North Dakota and New Mexico State University.

The manufacturer has also traditionally assisted agencies in these matters. However one concern is that, due to the restrictions and regulations for law enforcement UAVs, relevant experience can be tough to find. “A lot of them are DOD-focused and so they don’t have the domestic airspace expertise that’s necessary,” says Adelman.

As an end-user Miller knows the trials it can take to arrive to a successful destination. “My advice to agencies would be to contact the unmanned aircraft programs office inside the FAA … and walk right through the front door,” he says. “When it comes to operating UAS in the National Airspace System, public safety as a whole must maintain our credibility with the FAA.”

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