According to the ABC-7, the Orland Park Police Department, which patrols a suburban village southwest of Chicago, recently purchased a $1,200 DJI Phantom 3 equipped with a Lockheed-Martin Gyrocam 4K video system.
The agency received FAA approval in November to proceed with the program and a Orland Park press release states the department is training six officers to pilot the UAV.
Police Chief Tim McCarthy said he plans to use the Phantom in search-and-rescue situations, emergency response and hazardous incidents.
“It’s another tool in the toolbox,” he said. “Hopefully it will help save some lives.”
However, if the department wants to use the aircraft to search in buildings, it must obtain a search warrant under Illinois law.
“If we have something like a barricaded subject in a house we’d be able to sit over it. you’re going to have a perimeter anyway, but to sit over it to see if someone goes out a window or a door will be very helpful to the incident commander,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy added that “the FAA won’t allow police to use the drone at night, and the department is required to file a report with the FAA each time the drone is used.”
While Orland Park is moving forward with UAV tech, other police agencies across the U.S. remain cautious on the topic of drones.
In Snohomish County, Wash., the chief pilot of the sheriff’s office is advising public safety agencies in the region to delay making any drone purchases for now as the Evergreen State’s own legislature contemplates new UAV rules. Sheriff’s Officer Bill Quistorf believes there are too many privacy concerns under debate. “We’re not even close to using it for law enforcement,” Quistorf said. “There are larger hurdles to clear if we have any proposed plan to use it for law enforcement.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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