In an effort to serve the community and gain real-world training, the Fullerton College Drone Lab has partnered with Flying Lion Inc., and Fullerton Police Department to provide drone as first responder service for the city.

Fullerton College drone students, in the Hornet Drone Piloting Apprenticeship Program, will maintain and help launch uncrewed aerial vehicles from a rooftop, for Flying Lion, Inc., to assist the Fullerton Police Department employ drones as first responders.

“This is a great opportunity for Fullerton College students to gain real-world experience.  While helping out our local community,” said Jay Seidel, professor and director of the Fullerton Drone Lab at Fullerton College.

Drone as First Responder (DFR), as employed by FPD, will consist of drones positioned at a high point in the city, providing the ability to immediately deploy the aircraft to the reported emergency incidents, calls for service, or first responder requests. In many cases, the drones can arrive at any given incident prior to first responders on the ground and provide greater situational awareness for the officers.

The DFR Program follows all established FAA guidelines, privacy laws, and FPD Policies regarding the use of uncrewed aerial systems.

Fox News’ Bill Melugin reports on the Santa Monica Police deploying drones to respond to crime scenes.


Click here to watch their video report.

Police Departments Are Starting To Use Drones As First Responders – How Is It Working So Far?

Drone technically and use has evolved rapidly. Police departments quickly found uses for the technology and some over recent years have even started using the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) as first responders in a way. The Santa Monica Police Department initiated its program almost two years ago and the department says it changes the game for officers in the field. Most of the time, the drone arrives on scene before other officers and it can help paint a picture of the situation. But concerns about surveillance and privacy remain. Santa Monica authorities say those are always the biggest questions when it comes to this. Joining to discuss how Santa Monica’s program works and how regulations have evolved over time is Peter Lashley, Santa Monica police officer and lead pilot of the department’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) program, and Jay Stanleysenior policy analyst with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. 

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