Police drone flying over city

What Is the Role of Drone Technology in Law Enforcement?

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

Drones have been around for ages and their use is booming in all the industries like photography, cinematography, surveillance, farming and many other industries as well.

However, one of the most important field where drones have proved to be incredibly revolutionary is also Law Enforcement.

Drones have a major role to play in domestic police work and surveillance in multiple countries for quite a while now.

You might be wondering, how are drones are used in the sensitive field of Law Enforcement? Well, that’s exactly what I’m here to tell you.

Drones nowadays comes with thermal cameras, high-quality zoom, quick movement and multiple flight modes are being used all around the world by Law Enforcement for surveillance and identification of criminal activities with advance safety and accuracy.

In this article, I’m going to talk about drones and their use in Law enforcement as well as the benefits and use-cases for drone usage along with everything related to drones used in police work.

So, sit back, relax, and read this article until the end.

How Are Drones Used in Law Enforcement?

The million-dollar question is, how exactly are drones useful in Law Enforcement activities? Well, as you can imagine, drones are useful for many activities in domestic police work and higher-military work.

Let’s take a look at some uses of drones in Law Enforcement.

Security Surveillance:

The most common use of drones in the field of law enforcement is for security surveillance throughout the cities and high-risk high-profile areas.

In countries like India, China, Germany and even the US, many surveillance drones have a big role in places of high-priority to keep an eye on the everyday activities ongoing in the area, to prevent any unwanted illegal or criminal activities.

This is a great method of avoiding any potential violation of the law since there are cameras monitoring the situation at a certain place 24 hours of the day. So, chances of any mishap are reduced by a longshot.

Drone in black color used for surveillance around the prison.
Drone being used for security surveillance

Crowd Monitoring:

There are different kinds of surveillance in law enforcement. One very important kind is crowd monitoring.

Whether it’s a protest, a national holiday or any event of importance that brings a large crowd together, to monitor that crowd from an elevated position is extremely important to get a clear view of the happenings in the crowd.

This allows the domestic police and military to know if any particular person instigates an illegal activity on their part, and will help in capturing and bringing the criminal to trial.

Drone flying above the crowd
Drone being used to monitor the crowd

Crime Analysis:

The use of drones hasn’t become too common as of yet in law enforcement because of the costs that come with drone usage and the limitations of technology.

But in some countries, drones are used to analyze crime scenes and deduce important results from footage captured by the drone.

In fact, drones can be seen commonly in such areas which is why criminal activities are easier to link to the perpetrator and the trial becomes easier when the police has conclusive video or photo evidence in the drone’s memory.


Traffic Violation Analysis:

Law enforcement use drones for traffic violation analysis as well as accident 3D mapping so that investigators can find the reason for a major vehicular crash and more.

So, drones with high-quality cameras will monitor traffic signals and vehicles crossing them and any kind of suspicious activity, as well as traffic violation, will be recorded in the footage.

Whereas for the 3D mapping, the drone footage is useful for designers to create a 3D map of a car crash to find out the real reason for the occurrence to reach the conclusion of how the incident actually happened.

Drone flying above the city in the evening time.
Drones being used for Traffic Surveillance

Search Operations:

Police and military search operations for missing people and wanted criminals require extensive care and safety of the personnel. This is difficult if the search operations are done on-foot.

With the use of drones in law enforcement however, professional drone pilots in the law enforcement authorities can operated drones from a safe distance while monitoring and continuing their search operation accurately.

In fact, it will give them a clearer bird’s-eye view and the whole process will become simpler.

That’s why I believe, drones are the future of police work and law enforcement.

What Are the Benefits of Using Drones in Law Enforcement?

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles as well as specialized police drones are incredibly beneficial for bringing illegal activities to light and dealing with them effectively and efficiently.

There are many benefits that come with the use of drones in law enforcement.

Let’s take a look at some major advantages of this amazing technology in technical police and military work to get a better idea of how useful it truly is.

Drones Are Incredibly Quick:

One of the greatest advantages of drones in law enforcement is that they’re super-quick. Unlike ground vehicles and on-foot operations, they don’t require as much time for moving.

They aren’t bound by ground travel since they can take the aerial route without having to pass through different streets and roads to get to the emergency location for carrying out necessary actions and surveillance.

Drones Increase Safety and Accuracy:

When it comes to police work, personnel safety is a huge issue, and tackling it is extremely important.

Lucky for us, drone technology is the perfect way to ensure complete safety and security.

Law enforcement personnel are now professionally trained drone pilot, so they can operate drones in sensitive locations and perform surveillance and operations easily, safely and accurately.

Easier Aerial Surveillance:

This is also a great benefit of drones in Law Enforcement. Before the rise of drone technology, there weren’t many aerial surveillance tools and machines available to us.

However, with this technology, law enforcement agencies can easily survey the air above without having to use extremely expensive equipment such as helicopters and choppers.

Drone is controlled by a single pilot and this makes things very convenient.

Able to get into places difficult for human entry:

Now, this is another great advantage of drone use in the field of technical police and law enforcement work.

In some situations, agencies might face a problem within a facility that is not accessible by human forces.

This could be a building on fire or an area with no grounded path for workers to move on.

In such situations, drones can quickly and easily maneuver their way into places difficult for human entry.

They Can Save Lives:

Search and rescue operations have a high-risk factor attached to them.

Every so often, the lives of the people to be rescued depends upon certain actions of the law enforcement teams.

In such cases, if a tiny surveillance and search drone with a thermal camera is used, it can easily identify the location of the party to be rescued without letting the perpetrators know about the search operation.

Increased public interest in drone technology:

Drone technology is rising in the consumer market recently.

As long as legal and lawful use of drones is encouraged, this increase in public interest in drone technology inspired by law enforcement drone use is healthy

This can prove very technologically beneficial for nations around the world.

Credit: Peter Bernard

Rules and Regulations for Drone Usage in Law Enforcement:

Like consumer drone flying, the FAA has also imposed many important rules and regulations for drone usage in Law Enforcement.

So, if a law enforcement agency is going to use drones for their activities, they’re going to have to comply with the following rules and regulations to preserve the integrity of individuals of the society.

Drones Cannot Be Weaponized:

In Law Enforcement activities, drones can only be used for non-violent surveillance and monitoring.

They cannot be used for any kind of weaponizations and destruction of property or life even because of safety issues.

Drones being used in the military, however, are a different case.

The law enforcement we’re talking about is the general police and agency enforcement in cities and towns for the safety of the people and preservation of peace.

Drones carrying weapon and people in boat shooting at each other.
Drones are not allowed to use for any violent activity

Illegal Surveillance is Prohibited:

Random surveillance and public use of drones without solid conclusive evidence or proof of a crime are strictly prohibited by the FAA.

The drones cannot be flying around regardless of how powerful the agency might be.

The only time when surveillance is allowed in matters of strict risk after approval of the application or for searching and capturing a criminal. Otherwise, it is against the rules of the law.

Nighttime Usage Is Not Allowed:

The FAA allows drone usage as long as it is day time. If a private or government law enforcement agency wants to survey an area or a potential criminal in nighttime, they’re going to have to apply for a waiver.

Any illegal use of the drone without a waiver will be considered a punishable crime. Therefore, agencies tend to avoid flying their survey drones in the nighttime as a norm.

Additional Drone Elements Require State Approval:

Drones are incredibly versatile and effective machines. They are not only used to survey but identify, recognize, and mark the location of a potential problem area.

If facial recognition is to be used and thermal cameras are to be implemented, it would require state approval. That is the only way for agencies to use additional drone elements.

Data Misuse Is Prohibited:

Agencies usually do store some kind of data of the area they’re supposed to look over and enforce law in.

The misuse of the data is completely prohibited and unlawful in itself.

The FAA alongside many other governing bodies around the world have implemented strict rules against misuse of individual data which may be used for the gains of a particular agency.

What Features Are Best For Police Drones?

Now, we know drones are incredibly beneficial for police work and overall law enforcement, but exactly what kind of drones are the best for law enforcement activities?

Don’t worry because I’m here to tell you. Let’s take a look at some of the features a law enforcement surveillance drone must feature.

High-Quality Zoom Lenses:

An incredibly important feature for drones to be used in Law enforcement is a high-quality zoom lens. The high-res detailed lens can be used for identification and search operations.

Fast-moving speed and stunt ability:

Since police work is super-fast and snap-decision involving, the law enforcement UAVs need to be amazingly fast and easily maneuverable in sticky situations.

Silent and Non-Distractive:

The drones need to be noiseless and non-distractive to accurately gather intel and information without alerting the criminals and monitored.

Equipped with thermal vision and recognition mechanisms:

Police drones need to have additional features like thermal vision and facial recognition mechanisms depending upon the requirements of the enforcing agencies.

Top 3 Best Drones for Law Enforcement:

Here are 3 of the best law enforcement drones available in the market regarding design, quality and overall specs.

DJI Phantom 4 Advanced Plus:

We all know about the industry-leading drone manufacturer DJI. This drone is one of the best, highest-quality incredibly feature-full quadcopter drones.

It features a 20MP 1-inch image sensor along with 4K 60fps capture ability. With its mechanical shutter and beautiful design, the

DJI Phantom 4 Advanced Plus is truly amazing for police work.

Search operations and fugitive capturing can easily be done since the drone comes with a long 4.3 mile range and can stay flying in the air for as long as 30 minutes of time.

Credit: AuthenTech- Ben Schmanke

X8 Long-Range Surveillance Drone:

UAV Systems International is one of the best surveillance drone manufacturers in the market as of now.

X8 Long-Range Surveillance Drone is truly remarkable when it comes to specs.

Equipped with an incredibly high-quality sensor as well as a GPS to track the location of the drone, the X8 Long Rage is truly a long-range drone with over 12 miles flight distance travel ability.

The 120 minute battery timing of the X8 Long Range Surveillance Drone can help it track fugitives as far as they go, ensuring that criminals are caught and peace prevails within the society.

DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual Drone:

With the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual Drone, DJI made their mark in the law enforcement drone market.

You can expect all the best specs and features from this behemoth of a quadcopter drone.

With its quick speed, agility, and mobility, it is easy to maneuver in problematic situations.

This drone can fly over distances of 6000 m which is as much as you need for a surveillance drone.

The drone comes with a 31 minute flight time and it works wonders for search operations and all other kinds of law enforcement agency activities, however, the price tag is also pretty hefty.

One thing I’m sure of is that the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual Drone is going to be one of the best investments a security agency can place.

Credit: DJI

Future of Drones in the Law Enforcement Field:

In my opinion, the future for drone technology in the law enforcement field incredibly bright.

In countries like the USA, Germany, China, and France, drones are very popular and used commonly in the industry.

With the passage of time, more countries are going to implement drone usage in police work and technical security. In fact, you’re going to see more drones out in the open as well.

But there’s nothing to worry about. AI isn’t going to take over the world as it does in sci-fi movies.

Drones will be used for the protection and security of mankind along with the ease of human working.

As far as technological advancements go, drones are at a level where they can only become better and more technically advanced, so companies will be looking to add far better features over time.

The better cameras, higher resolution, along with easier control and manipulation, drones are going to be the way to future safety and protection for sure.

So, ultimately you can expect a lot of drone implementation in the law enforcement activities of tomorrow. And it is all going to be for the best, as long as the technology remains in good hands.


Drones in the law enforcement industry are being used for all kinds of scenarios and situations.

The use of drones will help people save many lives of citizens as well as personnel. This is why it is so beneficial to use drones in this field.

So, trust in the machinery and have no doubts. I assure you, there’s nothing to fear. Law enforcement is one of the best fields for drone usage to be adopted in.

I hope that with time, the world can feel more comfortable and safer with drones protecting them.


What Is the Role of Drone Technology in Law Enforcement?
Article Name
What Is the Role of Drone Technology in Law Enforcement?
Drones are playing a major role in Law Enforcement agencies. Here we read about the use and benefits of drone technology on law enforcement.
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Remoteflyer Private Limited
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