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New Infographic Identifies the Purposes and Protections Surrounding Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Use by Law Enforcement

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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…

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