Posted on 14th Feb 2012 @ 12:31 PM
For the past several years, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or UAVs, have been a staple in the military community. There lightweight design allows them to be fast and portable, as well as being completely unmanned, as the name suggests. This allows for pilots to control these incredible devices without having to put themselves in harm’s way. They have been used for reconnaissance and surveillance missions the world over, and are generally used for tasks that are considered to be too “dull, dirty, or dangerous” for manned pilots. They are one of the great innovations of our time. It was barely a hundred years ago that our feet were still planted on the ground, and we thought we were never going anywhere.
And now, this amazing technology is being adapted for the home front. Now, these Unmanned Aerial Vehicles will begin to see production for use for police officers and police departments all around the United States. This means that police officers will be able to use these machines for reconnaissance missions when making big busts or other similar situations. According to a recent demonstration, these Unmanned Aerial Vehicles can and will be implemental to capturing criminals on the run. Police will know exactly against what it is they are up before entering a potentially dangerous situation. This implementation could possibly save the lives of many police officers.
As positive as this may seems, there is also another side to this coin. Terry Burke, a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, made the following claims when asked about the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by police officers as an additional method of surveillance: “In an era where we have warrantless searches and privacy intrusion, the drones are an excuse to trample on the Constitution.” This can be true in some cases. What if you go out into your backyard one day, and suddenly you see an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle staring down at you? There could be some cause for concern in this regard. Police, however, assure that this is not the case; the drones will be used for surveillance in a dutiful and respectful manner.
Also, if you are worried about any potential collateral damage when it comes to the usage of these Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, police also say not to worry. Andrew Cohen, of the Miami-Dade police department, who is helping to oversee the project, says that the drones are not capable of any kind of offense, have no weapons, nor do they have any kind of defensive capabilities. “It’s a flying camera,” he states.
The Miami-Dade police department is the first to begin the implementation of these machines, with a handful of other cities making plans to use them. However, the manufacturers of the small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles expect business to pick up before the end of the year. Also, the Federal Airway Association is planning to release legislation which will dictate exactly how, when, and where, these incredible machines are to be used by the police department. This is just the latest example of how the police departments are stepping up in the technology game to make sure that their war on crime is a winnable one.