ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix-area police department could soon use drones to help enforce law

Jan 8, 2019, 2:05 PM

(John Stillwell/PA via AP, File)...

(John Stillwell/PA via AP, File)

(John Stillwell/PA via AP, File)

PHOENIX — A Phoenix-area police department is reaching out to the people it serves to determine whether it should purchase drones to help enforce the law.

Sgt. Tim Klarkowski with the Surprise Police Department told KTAR News 92.3 FM officers could use them to do everything from monitoring traffic collisions to search and rescue missions.

Klarkowski said the drones — technically referred to as unmanned aerial systems — would be more complex than what are sold to consumers, with up to eight propellers on a multi-motor device.

Officers could use the drones’ photo and video capabilities to watch a live feed. The drones would also be remote-operated, so they would be quiet but only have a flight time of up to 40 minutes.

“We can utilize the UAS to search an area relatively quickly and utilize something like the forward-looking infrared to try and locate where that individual may have gone off to,” Klarkowski said.

Klarkowski said the estimated cost to start the program is $65,000, which would be taken from the department’s asset forfeiture account.

Surprise residents have until Feb. 6 to submit their comments.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report. 

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Phoenix-area police department could soon use drones to help enforce law