Source: Milwaukee Police in the Midst of Procuring and Using Drones
In several earlier posts, the Spingola Files (SF) reported that local police departments in southeastern Wisconsin might soon be using drones to conduct surveillance.
Last week, SF learned, through a good source, that the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) is seriously considering procuring at least four drones at a cost of $15,000 each. While the MPD is carefully researching and considering its Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) options, a likely candidate is the Draganfly X-6 drone, which weighs less than five pounds. These hover craft are equipped with high definition cameras and also have infrared capabilities.
Federal law currently permits law enforcement agencies to operate drones weighing less than 30 pounds without authorization from the FAA. The UAV operator, however, is required to maintain a line-of-sight visual of the flying object.
The Draganflyer X-6 is electric and makes little noise while hovering. The X-6 ‘s power source is an easy to install battery pack. When the battery runs low, a computer directs the drone to return to the operator, who then installs a fresh battery. This particular UAV does have the capability to see through the walls of buildings with the use of infrared heat sensors. The X-6 can also follow vehicles and zoom-in to capture its license plate, as well as images of the vehicle’s occupants.
Last month, the Seattle Police Department announced that it is set to deploy the Draganflyer X-6. To get closer look this particular UAV, view the below link.
“The drawback to this type of drone [the X-6],” said a source “is that it can’t be operated from a remote location. Ultimately, law enforcement will want this type of capability—rendering expensive helicopters obsolete.”
Make no mistake about it, though, the smaller Draganflyer X-6 UAV is a valuable tool. During protests or civil disturbances, the MPD could conduct surveillance of crowds, stream live video to a command center, and then store photographs and video of participants. Operatives at the MPD’s Intelligence Fusion center, using facial recognition software, could then, in less than an hour, identify those involved by comparing photographs from Wisconsin’s Real ID biometric database—obtained from drivers’ licenses, ID cards, and/or booking photos.
Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I, is available at Amazon.com
Spingola’s soon-to-be-released book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is set for release in December 2012.
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© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012