The Arlington Police Department is in the first part of its experiment in using unmanned aircraft to assist in law enforcement.
The department has been testing and evaluating two battery-operated, remote-controlled aircraft over a small, restricted airspace near Lake Arlington Dam, away from populated areas.
They have fire fighting applications too, but technology intended for one use always has several other potential applications.
In a City Council briefing Tuesday, Bowman said the aircraft are capable of carrying cameras that shoot high-quality still pictures and video and have night-vision capability. The aircraft also have heat-sensing technology the fire department can use.
“Obviously, Texas is prone to a lot of dry weather and large fires,” said Deputy Chief Lauretta Hill, who oversees homeland security and special events for the department. “Being able to send a vehicle up and sense the origin of the fire will give them the the tools in order to determine where they’ll deploy their resources.”
Video at the link. They’re slick looking, I’ll give them that. Their price and expendability makes them obviously useful. But maybe a little too useful. Their potential deployment seems like the beginning of a big change in the citizen’s relationship to law enforcement.