Home Public Safety New Florida Law Will Increase Drone Use In Police Departments

New Florida Law Will Increase Drone Use In Police Departments

Aerial view in early morning over Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Thanks to a combination of new public funds and the challenges of 2020, many Florida police departments began their transition to drones in order to meet the evolving needs of their community.

Today, over 70 Florida police agencies are using drones or plan to soon once training and certification are complete. And it’s with good reason — drones have been shown to significantly help police monitor traffic, launch more successful search-and-rescue missions, de-escalate violent situations, and more in police departments nationwide.

While the growth is significant, Florida police are primed for even greater drone applications if a new bill passes the state legislature.

The bill is set to give police officers in the state increased drone usage rights in order to help police incorporate drones into more varied situations. As of now, the bill would allow police to collect evidence with drones, check for natural disaster damage, manage traffic, fly over crowds, and coordinate drone use with the state’s fire departments.

However, the bill is currently being met with pushback from citizens concerned with police surveillance, so the onus is on the legislature to ensure the public can put fact over fiction when it comes to drones being used by law enforcement.

And the fact is that, in actual application, drones help police with safety and accountability, not with ongoing surveillance. After all, most police drones can only fly for about 25 minutes, so their uses are best for specific investigations and data gathering in order to access ongoing situations.

When asked about the concerns of worried residents, State Senator Tom Wright suggested weighing them against the benefits drones provide. “It’s the 21st century, for goodness sakes,” Wright said.

If the bill passes, you can expect many states to follow suit as the budgetary benefits of drones match their usefulness not only in police departments, but fire departments and other emergency institutions as well.

To read more about the bill, click here.

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