Technological advancements in law enforcement seem endless. Twenty-five years ago, the idea of police officers piloting small, unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones, seemed unrealistic. But, in 2022, this is commonplace for many agencies throughout the United States. Cost-effective, especially when compared to a traditional aircraft unit, a drone program in departments of all sizes is within arm’s reach.
Recently, the chief of the Casa Grande, Arizona, Police Department (CGPD) received an unexpected call from a state agency offering to fund a drone program. Because of the rarity of such calls, he graciously accepted the offer. However, the department did not know where to start. Fortunately, a retired law enforcement executive with extensive drone experience stepped in to advise.
Many agencies may not have such assistance available. To this end, the CGPD’s experience and lessons learned can help guide other departments.