Police Drones Are Already Here

So everyone noticed when Congress told the FAA to get American airspace ready for regular drone flights, this move prompted a general Internet freakout about privacy concerns. No one likes the thought of being watched by the very drones that spy on suspected insurgents on Middle Eastern battlefields. Well, U.S. police departments are already gearing up to deploy UAV in American cities.

The video below shows the Seattle Police Department’s new Draganflyer UAV. The kite-sized micro chopper weighs three pounds and can stay aloft for about 20 minutes. As a Seattle PD officer explains in the video, it’s not allowed to fly above 400 feet and has to be operated from a SPD vehicle. Just wait, though, law enforcement agencies accross the country will soon have bigger drones capable of conducting serious suveillance. Heck, a much bigger Shadowhawk drone-chopper belonging to the Montgomery County,Texas, Sheriff’s Office recently crashed into a SWAT truck belonging to said office.

Click through the jump to watch a video of Seattle’s finest’s latest toy.

Via sUAS News.

  • Cunninglinguine

    Huzzah, target practice!

    Fuck da police.

    • CoCowboy692000

      PULL!!!

  • Lance

    Well there goes the 4th amendment. Big Brother is here to watch you your wife and family do every thing and they impose what they want you to do. Sad day George Washington is rolling over in his grave.

  • Morty

    Still like my Idea of mounting guns on these things

    • CoCowboy692000

      Be careful what you wish for…

    • MadMarine

      I’ll bet you do..but I like my idea better… mounting YOU on one of those things. Just go back to your rubber room and keep your ideas in the dark recesses of your warped mind. PLEASE!!

  • Diane Alden

    It is SO over with .. the militarization of the police and turning the military into police will end badly … for us.

    • Misnomer

      Fear not, fair maiden! civilians can build their own ‘MiKroKopter’ Kit and put a camera (or something else) on it and start droning.

      Anybody else hear about the animal rights drone that got shot down by hunters (whose pigeon hunt was cancelled by said activists) in S.C. a few weeks back?
      PopSci & thetanDD did a story on it.

      • AlC

        You raise some interesting points.

        I wonder how my local cops would feel if I put up a few copters and followed them around? Lost of pictures at the local Dunkin Donuts.

      • CoCowboy692000

        YES! I DID! WASN’T THAT AWESOME?!?!? I loved that story… That was sooo KEWL!

    • CoCowboy692000

      See my comment at the bottom of the page. I couldn’t post it as a reply…

    • CoCowboy692000

      Are you kidding? There are 1.5 Million military, total. There are around a million police and fire nationally. There are 325 MILLION AMERICANS and 80 MILLION households have guns, many with multiple guns…. I favor American’s odds as long as they don’t buy into the line that: “We’re doomed!… All is lost! Game over Dude!”… I mean seriously people… Has anyone really done the math?

      I like our chances…. I like them quite well in fact…

  • Zeyn

    if they use them like they already use choppers i don’t mind, but if they start using them to spy over suspects or normal civilians then its a different story…

    • Riles

      Agreed. No need to freak out about this… yet

    • TMB

      This little thing could be very useful during a stakeout or a SWAT raid (where probably cause and warrants are already taken care of). If you start seeing IR cameras mounted on their helicopters or longer flight duration UAVs, then start to worry.

    • CoCowboy692000

      Remember what they say about power and corruption… don’t ever forget it…

      Once you give up a right or a freedom, YOU NEVER GET IT BACK… EVER

  • AlC

    Just how far are we going to permit the police to go in “protecting” us ?

    • M.L.

      I tell ‘ya the 2nd Amendment looks better everyday now, doesn’t it?

    • CoCowboy692000

      I can’t figure out why I can’t post my reply

    • CoCowboy692000

      Welp, considering they’ve passed NDAA, The program to place 30,000 drones over the HOMELAND! and the Enemy Expatriation Act, which will make it very easy for the US government to strip away our citizenship at will… These VIOLATE Posse Comitatus and Habeas Corpus. WE’RE REALLY IN DEEP DEEP DOOO DOOO!!!

      THESE ARE KEWL ADVANCEMENTS, HOWEVER – American’s have been betrayed by our own Congress and it remains to be seen if our Military will betray us or defend us against enemies within, as they’re sworn to do.

      Let’s hope to God, it’s the latter…

      • CoCowboy692000

        By the way… RON PAUL SUBMITTED A BILL TRYING TO REPEAL THE NDAA, WHICH DECLARES THE US AS A BATTLEFIELD… THE ATTEMPT FAILED… THE ONLY CONGRESSMEN WHO VOTED AGAINST NDAA BELIEVE IT OR NOT, WAS THE CBC… UNBELIEVABLE…

      • riodImiche

        If they defended us from enemies from within, they would have dropped a few bombs on the congress and white house already, theyre our real enemies

        • CoCowboy692000

          Exactly.. In fact, they should take all 535 into custody along with the entire administration and try them all for high treason, hold special elections immediately… but that’s another conversation!

      • passingby

        the NDAA and its likes have been designed with Americans in mind, not “terrorists.” As I have repeatedly said, 9-11 was a false flag operation to accomplish multiple goals, one of which being complete, unrestrained government power in arresting and detaining (indefinitely without trial) anyone who organize dissent / protests / revolt etc against government abuse and corruption.

        Given the highly hypnotized state of most Americans, it’s no wonder that passing such Fascist laws in Congress and the White House has been like a walk in the park.

        • CoCowboy692000

          I know… I was just logged in to my account on Thomas and reviewing the new bill to counter that. There’s a bill put up by a couple of Dems, believe it or not, who will make it unlawful for them to hold you indefintely AND that the gov’t must pay for your defense if you are detained… We’ll see if it passes. I forget what the bill number is without pulling it back up. I added it to my ticker so I’ll be updated daily and I’ll know if anyone tries to amend it or whatever…

      • Doubtom

        You’re a bit confused..It is you who is the enemy according to the government and history teaches that cops and the military are forever being used against the people. You have no reason to “hope” for anything different.

        • CoCowboy692000

          I think you’ve either misunderstood what I wrote or you have not read NDAA and the rest of the Legislation to which I refer. Please clarify your comment if you would.

    • http://twitter.com/portlandjames @portlandjames

      the baby-boomers, all 76 million want total police protection….and since they’re 60+ million strong, you’re gonna have to deal with it.

    • Doubtom

      Wake up!,, you lost your right to “permit” the police anything a long time ago.

    • SXO

      Explain to me how this is any different than police helicopters equiped with the same exact sensors? Really, the paranoia in people is astounding sometimes.

    • blight_

      As far as the “consent of the governed” takes it.

    • edd

      Stop looking at pieces of our Constitutional Rights disappearing, pessimistically…. ….and be more optimistic in reading pieces of our Communistic laws being written into place. …but hey, the sky is blue and today will get up to 80 degrees, nothing to worry about. Someone was arrested in USSR in 1971 for taking a photograph of a telephone pole. …….and guess what….. Someone in the USA just was arrested for taking a picture of a telephone pole for an art project in America in May 2012.

      • edd

        Though let’s call these “Smart Phones”…. …..no one will no the difference, as they are “Dumb Phones” (tracking devices for drones). …..though remember, nothing to worry about, sky is blue and today will get up to 80 degrees. Now an invention of a drone that can remain hovering in the air for five short years without refueling…. Hmmm, something to watch while we are laying out by the pool. …and while you are laying out by the pool, Windows 8, yes a wonderfully built porous operating system for hackers to remotely turn off the stock market while you are getting sun will save light bulb energy on Wall Street. No worries there….. Tomorrow when we head to the airport, they will turn you back home and say, “no one leaves”…… ….but hey, the sky is blue and another 80 degree day.

  • Ezra Shabot

    Land of the free indeed…

  • SSG Joseph G VanDyck

    The TSA does not instill fear in me…they are mostly overweight out of shape individuals or they aren’t even from the US…now if you want fear, go to Germany or Israel…they scare the sh*t outta me, and thats hard to do…

  • SSG Joseph G VanDyck

    This is all well and good, but I believe it would be target practice for sure. Now when are law enforcement gonna start using the BATS/HIIDE system here in the US? The civilian law enforcement rep we had on our team in Iraq in 2006/2007 was wondering the same thing also.

  • DhuntAUS

    Didn’t they use a UAV in England not so long ago to catch a baddy ? I like the idea but there is a line. This would never even get of the ground in AUS.

  • Misnomer

    “That awkward moment when you leave the bathroom door open and see a drone taking a picture of you outside the window”

  • Andrew

    I think some of you are a little too crazy for your own good, what police departments have you experienced that actually want to waste time or money spying on citizens with no actual background for the espionage? I hate to break it to you, but most metropolitan police helicopters already carry surveillance gear like FLIR, this is just a much cheaper-to-operate form of that.

    You guys act like you live in Detroit during Robocop II

    • Vpanoptes

      Ummm, do the initials NYPD ring any bells?

    • CoCowboy692000

      LMAO!!! HAVE YOU BEEN TO DETROIT??? Do you know how they live? What their murder rate is? Crap, they run in gangs like rabid dogs… That was a poor choice to use for an example. You don’t go to “Detroit” when it’s dark – period. Hell, I didn’t like going when it was light!! And by the way – You don’t say the wrong thing in Detroit either… You could lose an appendage for it…

    • Mad Marine

      If you’re not willing to think the govt (i.e local police in this case) is capable of deceiving the public in the use of these..then why worry about what the public thinks?.. My advise…K.I.S.S. it dude….Keep It Simple Schmuck… Put your horse blinders back on. There willl be a gov’t agent along shortly to lead you through life and your narrow field of vision. You haven’t got a clue whats going on do you?

  • Thunder350

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety
    -Benjamin Franklin

  • Thunder350

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety
    -Benjamin Franklin

    Welcome to our new police state, makes you wonder about who the true puppet master is.

  • brok3n

    ignore first line, meant for somebody else

  • Colt

    Damn congress not seeing this being a liablity. If there a special need to find a fugitive thats one thing (set hounds out) but general surveillance on anyone is another. Isn’t this running into ease dropping on people? Old Blue Thunder movie back in ’80s maybe been overblown, (but used then available technologies) now were going see it in action on drones. Police State almost exactly whats going to happen when drones enter every day use by the police.

    • http://twitter.com/portlandjames @portlandjames

      hounds? are you high? We have super cameras on drones, face recognition software, police vehicles with AR assault rifles, and serious optics….crime fighting just went incognito. That camera helo will capture crime, report to SWAT, SWAT shows up, shoots perp with HOLLOWPOINT NATO round….twice, and SWAT home before the drone needs a refill of gas….. your rights will be decided real time……from now on. You have been warned. Your attorney better better beat the SWAT team there…

      • Thomas L. Nielsen

        “HOLLOWPOINT NATO round”

        Care to tell us what exactly that is?

        Regards & all,

        Thomas L. Nielsen
        Luxembourg

        • blight_

          Ooh Hollowpoints, so scary! About as scary and evil as the false “Teflon bullet” craze of the ’80s and ’90s. Time to bring on the hysteria.

          However, OPs concerns about invasion of privacy and the like should be kept in our minds.

  • Tran

    Can someone explain in detail on how this can be a bad thing? In my honest opinion, I dont think its so bad. Whats the difference from having drones flying over our heads compare to wasting officers patroling the street, or placing security cameras on every corner of the street? I think everyone here is a bit paranoid. I would appreciate a detailed explaination on this paranoia.

    • brok3n

      spoken like a true liberal

      Simple, people fear what they do not understand. These same people tend to wear tin foil hats.

      • blight_

        Wow, I thought conservatives were for security, and when you don’t like it it’s suddenly liberal?

        Perhaps the Pakistani government will buy a few. Plenty of dictators wouldn’t mind a little persistent presence.

    • TMB

      Love to, but my posts are getting deleted.

    • TMB

      This little drone isn’t a problem. It has a short flight time, limited range, and the operator has to be so close he’d stick out. The issue is with longer duration UAVs and the gadgetry they can carry. I wouldn’t classify all the remarks here as paranoia. In recent months police have been taken to court for misusing GPS and other modern surveillance tech in violation of the 4th Amendment. An infrared camera can look right into someone’s home and we’re hoping the police will use it responsibly. Hope as the saying goes is not a strategy. We want to ensure systems are in place to protect our privacy.

      • TMB

        I should add those law enforcement agencies have lost some of those cases in court and had to be reminded that a new whizbang doesn’t mean they get to avoid Probable Cause and warrants.

      • ajSpades

        An infrared camera can’t look through walls, especially not the kind that you would mount on a helicopter or UAV. Your remark just qualified as paranoia.

        • TMB

          Granted this was used against marijuana growers, but the tech and the risks are there:

          In 2001, the United States Supreme Court decided that performing surveillance of private property (ostensibly to detect high emission grow lights used in clandestine marijuana farming) using thermal imaging cameras without a search warrant by law enforcement violates the Fourth Amendment’s protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. Kyllo v. United States.

          (from Daily Mail 7 October 2003)…Jones said police would continue focusing on large outdoor patches and also try to track down more clandestine indoor operations. The indoor plants, for obvious reasons, are harder to locate, but Jones said technology now gives investigators an edge. Other than thermal imaging cameras, Jones declined to say what kind of tools authorities use, for fear it might tip too much of their hand, but he said it was cutting-edge stuff.

          Taken to court for using thermals on private property (including indoor activities) without a warrant. Maybe it can’t do walls today. What about windows? What will be the available tech in a year?

          • Tran

            Ok, thanks for the insight. However what really shock me, was when you said infrared cameras being able to look through walls. Ive seen police footage before, but ive never seen them being able to do things like that. Is there an article about the camera on how it works or show a video doc proving your claim about the camera going through walls?

        • MadMarine

          “An infrared camera can’t look through walls, especially not the kind that you would mount on a helicopter or UAV” (Gov’t schill)
          That remark dis-qualifies you from making any further remarks/ comments or utterance on the subject of FLIR which can detect and display a heat source behind a wall or through a wall.

      • AlC

        “This little drone isn’t a problem.”

        Can’t agree with this. It represents further erosion of our culture.
        And the question is, what comes next? Why not just install monitoring equipment everywhere. If they can outlaw smoking in your own car if you have a child on board, can they outlaw you smoking in your own home because you have children? Maybe they need to install cigarette smoke detectors in our homes. And while we’re at it, let’s monitor conversations in your home for key words like bomb or assassination.

        Problem is, where does it stop.

        Unless we begin to role things back now, we are going to need a 2nd American Revolution.

        I grew up in the 1950s/60s. It was a far better country back then.

    • http://twitter.com/portlandjames @portlandjames

      data….its all about having more info than the other guy, and then manipulating that data…… who is going to lose here….the police detective, with 30 years of service, mistakenly kicking your door down, and shooting you……or you, the guy that works in the screen department, of the local Hardware Hank? Get a drone, or get out of the way….

    • Doubtom

      I suppose that you’d have an equally difficult time understanding the police departments adding military tanks to their inventory of “crowd control devices”

  • STemplar

    “The Terrorists Can Never Win.”

    The state of Wisconsin has gone an entire deer hunting season without someone getting killed. That’s great. There were over 600,000 hunters.

    Allow me to restate that number. Over the last two months, the eighth largest army in the world – more men under arms than Iran; more than France and Germany combined – deployed to the woods of a single American state to help keep the deer menace at bay.”
    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/americas-other-l

    You folks that freak out over a simple cost effective tool for law enforcement are so over the top absurd.

    • blight_

      Well, when everyone wears camo and then an orange reflective jacket…

  • robertro2

    when there is a mid air mishap can you sue the city,remember the helicopter the summer of 2011 in NYC going up and crashed into a small plane and killed them,these small drones can not see 360 like pilots can and that helicopter pilot with the top of his craft covered could not look up……

  • Riceball

    I don’t think we have much to worry really, if these drones start to get too advanced to the point where they don’t need a human pilot controlling them then the police unions will be all up in arms over it since that would mean fewer cops would be needed and fewer cops means weaker unions.

    • jumper

      What does that have to do with anything?

  • jumper

    Just an innocent little tool for some warrentless surveilance… nothing to worry about.

  • nic

    they can use infared,and know exactly every more u make, its not a uav it is a flying computer. It remenbers everthing.

  • Darkness

    You idiots. The police have been flying HELICOPTERS in the air for decades. They have strict rules about what they can do with things they observe while flying. Do you fools really expect the police will be legally allowed to spy on random citizens smoking joints in their living room and be able to use that in court? Well if you do then get off the internet, because you don’t know a damn thing about the law, or about how the police do their business. Half of you pretend to be gangsters, and the other half pretend your some kind of freedom fighter militia separatists. You make me sick.

    • Doubtom

      I think it’s you who needs a course on law and how it is daily manipulated. Try real hard to accept that the president can now even brand you a terrorist and have you murdered. What’s a little surveillance compared to murder by your government. The law is totally corrupt, just like the rest of this nation’s agencies and you’re the fool for asking others to rely on it. Apologists for governmental excesses make me sick too.

      • CoCowboy692000

        Well I tell you what fella, you obviously haven’t read a damn thing I’ve written or you’d know for certain that I’m no damned apologist for the gomermint. Further, if you had read me, you’d realize with ease, I’m fully aware that not only do I realize that I can be branded, but that I must protect myself… read that one how you wish… Further, you’ve never read these bills – obviously…

        Surveillance goes a step too far. What do you think its purpose is for you idiot? He|| no I’m not going to willingly allow it if I can fight it. screw them and their over reach. What gives them the right to butt into my life? NOTHING!

        You asked, “What’s a little surveillance?” Not only does it sound as though YOU are the apologist, but it really does sound as though you’re part of it somewhere… I’m not going to live looking over my damned shoulder everytime I do something or go somewhere – bullspit….

        • CoCowboy692000

          Go scew, commie… you want to murder me, take your best shot – there will be one coming back… I’m fully cognizant of where our nation is at in terms of police state and corruption. You’re an idiot hiding behind a keyboard who knows nothing and further, is a COWARD, willing to allow YOUR rights to be piddled away as though they’re meaningless. NOT ME… so, go hide hide hide away and say ok, do what you will… coward… I will die for my rights and expect to. My kids and grandkids are too important to me to allow them to grow up in a totalitarian dictatorship…. one step away now…

          • blight_

            It’s been like this for a while.

    • Boy Blue

      Love It. Couldn’t have said it better. Start focusing on the lawful events in your life and stop worrying about how you may be caught. The boys in blue don’t care about you on the toilet…

  • William C.

    Man, where people this crazy when helicopters first entered police use?

    I’ll get concerned when they fit a GPMG to them or start flying manhacks.

  • LOL@Conspiracies

    When people can’t control themselves or think for themselves, the government has to pull the strings. Don’t blame the government, blame yourselves.

  • H3NDR1CK

    What we need is an alien invasion. In order to grasp our fragility in this said universe we need to be reminded that it can all change in an instant and that we are all truly fragile. I never post on these subjects but this is the tipping point. Once we have to come together not as a nation or alliance but as MANKIND in a whole then we can get over our petty differences. Until this happens we will be forever enslaved.

  • CoCowboy692000

    @blight_
    I tried to reply to you on the previous page twice, however, it wouldn’t post. So I am trying to repost here. I agree blight and while your comment is true, Obama went one step to far on New Years when he signed these bills and they violate the Constitution.

    The truth is, the 30,000 drones could be anything from the miniatures we saw playing that tune, to these on this page, to the ones in Afghanistan sporting missles. I do know, they intend to use the one, ummm… ah yes, the MQ-9 Reaper – but that ones only going to be used to find LOST CATTLE…. SKEEE—UZE ME – I HAVE TO CHUCKLE FOR 20 MINUTES…. hard to believe I had to repeat that…

    And… There were some other nasty ones I read about too… And how long before they introduce “Constellation Swarm Tech” to the homeland which is fully developed now? Those have 3 100 lb bombs each and can stay airborn for days! Just exactly what do they need with any of this hardware over the homeland?

    NOTHING! – Unless, they intend to assault American’s of course… which of course, if they were doing that, then we’ve got to worery about the DETA Darts AND just one final thought – WHY would this Drone Program NEED to be done **TOP SECRET** THROUGH THE FAA??? JMO

  • edd

    Communistic laws being put into place….. Be optimistic…

  • edd

    Government running the people, communism….

  • edd

    Let’s just continue to call it a Democracy, the people won’t know we are moving into Communism. Even if we called it Socialism they won’t know we are moving into Communism. Let’s just call them “Smart Phones”, they won’t know they are “Drone Phones”….. …..let’s run Wall Street with Windows 8, it is a wonderful porous program that can be remotely turned on or off. Wake up people.

  • edd

    What ever happened to the 700 mile wall? All of a sudden, no more news on it….. ….has everyone forgotten to inquire? Now Canadiens are complaining about suspicious underground noise along the Windsor border. Did it ever occur to you that that 700 mile wall along the Mexican border just kept going? Being that we live in the 21st century, wouldn’t a covert Berlin Wall be best built underground and then when it is time, to raise it up out of the ground by remote? Windows 8 would solve that…

  • edd

    Not to scare anyone either…. …just be forewarned….

  • Timer4ever

    Don’t ever take your eyes off of the goverment and its rules. Remember the line about keeping your enemies closer…..they want more control, daily. And we are letting them do it.

  • anthony

    More drones in sky,taking off from airports all over some people dont even know it can be youre neighbor flying a mision and operating it from home.Then the police get to drive fast new carsthey wont have to get out of cars anymore,some are to fat to even chase a crimenel,I imagine people committing a roberry will get shot at from drones we never even seen,good as long as they dont miss theyre target from up there,it been proved a;;ready that its simple ad simple to operate..

  • anthony

    They should be banned from NUDIST BEACHES AND CLUBS!!because that is stalking a sort of club that dont carry clothesetc and these people like privacy not ,being looked at and ending up in a magazine,we need are space laws also..

  • yashpahade

    Am I the only one not worried about this? Damn, people.
    Plus, Seattle PD canceled the drone program.

  • ktm

    Oh yay, this is just the beginning. someday they wont have to knock at the door to wait for you to open it they will knock the door down to take you away to some prison camp that has been in operation for along time as they have set up these places years before. Their plan is to de-populate the world as they have been doing by poisoning our water/air and food, we have doctors giving us meds that cause us more harm than good. The list goes on, there’s really nothing we can do to stop all that is happening or going to happen. no more privacy no more freedom no more rights.

  • Jimmy

    Sooner rather than later the local PD’s willbe equipped with M1A1 Tanks, F-22 Fighters and Aircraft Carriers and who knows a couple Boomers per department…

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