State bill would expand law enforcement use of unmanned drones

Law enforcement agencies use drones to help solve investigations. Local agencies like Lee County Sheriff’s Office said these devices to provide peace of mind and provides a vantage point that investigators would not have as accessibly without them. These advantages may be increased if a state bill is passed into law.

A new bill would expand the use of unmanned drones for law enforcement. This is something Southwest Florida law enforcement agencies hope to see pass into law.

“They provide a way of viewing scenes that are not normally accessible, except through helicopter,” LCSO Lieutenant Thomas Flynn said.

Flynn said he uses drones on a daily basis.

“Drones act as a force multiplier for the agency,” Flynn said. “They’re quickly deploy-able on scenes and very economical.”

Lt. Flynn said drones act like first responders before LCSO’s helicopters are able to get to a scene. Drones also help deputies search for missing people, track down suspected criminals and much more.

“Our drones have the ability to have FLIR, which is forward looking infrared,” Flynn said. “So, they can see in the dark, and that has tremendous capability.”

They’re also helping to keep the public safe when you go out. LCSO said drones aren’t just for the public’s safety but for their deputies. Sometimes a drone will take the place of an actual deputy in a threatening scenario and can still get the same results.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office also uses drones to monitor the large crowds at major events.

“Any time you give law enforcement more tools, it’s better for the public,”

Agencies are limited to how they can use drones to gather evidence but said new laws could change that.

“It gives us a wider variety of things that we can use the drone for, and we’re very hopeful that it passes,”

 

Reporter:Taylor Bisacky
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