This month, hosts Timothy Martin and Miriam McNabb review the latest news stories about drones in public safety, first response, fire and police with our guest Steven Katz, VP and Community College Instructor at Flying Lion and Founder and Chief Pilot at Flying Lion subsidiary, Sky Ladder Drones. Steven will then discuss his experiences at Flying Lion, and the current important issues facing public safety agencies implementing or expanding their drone programs.
Flying Lion is a drone service provider to law enforcement, publicsafety agencies and municipalities. Founded in 2014, Flying Lion is a global expert in Drones as First Responder (DFR) program development and implementation, on-demand drone Air Support, UAS flight training, and FAA regulations. With deep experience in the high tech industry, Steven Katz has been focused on commercial and public safety drone use since their use became legal in the U.S. in 2016: working as both a pilot and educator in the space.
By: Miriam McNabb
Innovative Use of Drones in Law Enforcement
In a remarkable demonstration of technology aiding law enforcement, Montgomery County Police successfully utilized a drone to apprehend two suspects involved in a theft at a Silver Spring grocery store.
The incident, which occurred in November 2023, highlights the effectiveness of the “Drone as First Responders” program in combating crime.
Axon Air Powered by DroneSense provides a complete solution for drones in public safety, designed to increase situational awareness and operational efficiency to improve outcomes in some of the most challenging situations. In addition to secure wireless live-streaming, automated flight logs and reporting, integrated evidence management and fully remote operations for Drone as First Responder (DFR) programs, today we’re excited to announce new partnerships with Flying Lion, Pilot Institute and The Regional Training Center, further solidifying Axon Air as a comprehensive end-to-end drone platform for public safety.
A simplistic definition of DFR is a system of pre-positioned drones that respond immediately to emergencies. DFR’s primary goals are to arrive before ground units and to provide first responders with a birds-eye view of an incident. In this respect, the drone is an extension or avatar for an experienced incident manager/commander (IC), and fundamentally an experienced IC is what agencies actually want on scene quickly, not the drone.
So, when developing DFR solutions, consider what features and capabilities are necessary to enable the DFR pilot to arrive quickly and observe and communicate effectively. And when searching for the right person to be the DFR pilot, ask a field supervisor you trust: “If there was a major critical incident right now, who would you want first on scene?” Whomever that is, they are likely your best choice for a DFR pilot, even if they’ve never flown a drone before.
By Fritz Reber
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.
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 Stanley, senior policy analyst with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.
In this beach town, sometimes the first cop on the scene is a drone
When someone calls 911 in Santa Monica, Calif., a drone can respond in as little as 30 seconds and start collecting information before officers arrives
By Ken Dilanian Read more