The Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) today released a new report, Roadmap to Implementing an Effective Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Program, with its partners at the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). Drones, as UAS are generally known, present one of the most exciting frontiers in law enforcement by giving departments an essential tool with which to gather vital situational data without placing law enforcement professionals in harm’s way. This report is an eight-step guide to launching a drone program and is available on the COPS Office website.
This report details the critical steps to starting a drone program, from planning and preparation to purchasing the right equipment, staffing and training a drone team, and writing policies and procedures. The recommendations and tips included in this guidance were developed in consultation with members of the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial (SLTT) UAS Working Group, convened by the COPS Office in 2019 following a two-day forum on the police use of drones and response to the threat of malicious drone attacks. The findings from that forum were compiled into Drones: A Report on the Use of Drones by Public Safety Agencies—and a Wake-Up Call about the Threat of Malicious Drone Attacks, which was released early this year.