"Drone" Use in Public Safety: New Infographic Identifies the Purposes and Protections Surrounding Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Use by Law Enforcement

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The Police Foundation is releasing a new infographic for both law enforcement agencies considering the use of small unmanned aircraft systems for public safety purposes and for communities interested in learning more about the purposes and protections surrounding their use.

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Harnessing the capabilities of UAS technologies requires not only the skills to operate the technology, but the input and understanding of the community and a pledge to operate the technology in a transparent manner.

Ensuring the safety of the public is a core mission for all professional law enforcement agencies. In pursuit of this mission, law enforcement leverages many different types of tools, including new and emerging technologies.  One of these latest technologies is the small-unmanned aircraft system (sUAS).

The Police Foundation is releasing a new infographic for both law enforcement agencies considering the use of small unmanned aircraft systems for public safety purposes and for communities interested in learning more about the purposes and protections surrounding their use. The infographic, entitled sUAS and Public Safety, provides an overview of operational, training, and legal and regulatory compliance considerations in visual format for law enforcement agencies interested in using sUAS for public safety. Importantly, it highlights key recommendations for law enforcement agencies on engaging their communities in the co-production of public safety using sUAS prior to implementation.

While this type of technology has significant potential to improve operational efficiency as well as officer and community safety, there are understandable and legitimate concerns about privacy risks. To address these concerns and to improve UAS programs, law enforcement agencies considering adopting sUAS technology are encouraged to engage their communities early in the decision to implement a program.

“UAS technologies provide law enforcement agencies with unique capabilities for rapid, safe, economical and effective responses to a wide variety of public safety tactical challenges. Harnessing these capabilities requires not only the skills to operate the technology, but the input and understanding of the community and a pledge to operate the technology in a transparent manner. Taking the time to engage the community, address concerns and gain input from the community is exactly what community policing is all about,” said Jim Bueermann, President of the Police Foundation and former Chief of Police in Redlands, California.

This infographic is the latest Police Foundation resource for law enforcement agencies interested in developing an sUAS program. In November 2016, the Police Foundation released Community Policing & Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): Guidelines to Enhance Community Trust, which provides comprehensive guidance on all aspects of sUAS use in public safety, including operational, training, and legal and regulatory compliance considerations as well as guidance on navigating community concerns related to privacy and civil rights. The Five Things You Need To Know About Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) in Law Enforcement distills this topic into five key points for quick reference.

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice, supported the development of this infographic, Five Things publication, and guidebook.

The sUAS and Public Safety infographic is available to media organizations to use with attribution and without modification.

About the Police Foundation:
The Police Foundation is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing policing through innovation and science. Established in 1970, the Foundation has conducted seminal research in police behavior, policy, and procedure, and works to transfer to local agencies the best new information about practices for dealing effectively with a range of important police operational and administrative concerns.

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Jim Burch
@PoliceFound
since: 02/2014
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