25 Steps to Launch Drones in Public Safety
Hi everyone welcome to our webinar on 25 steps to launch drones in public safety. If you have not already done so, please be sure to mute yourselves just to eliminate any background noise. Also, if you think of any questions during the webinar, please feel free to submit them in the chat section on your screen, and we will answer as many questions as we can during our Q & amp A session.
So many of you already know that drones are becoming an essential tool for public safety departments worldwide at Dart drones. We know that sometimes it could be a bit intimidating and complex to actually implement drones and to launch a program.
So today, our chief public safety flight instructor, Michael esky, is going to take us through the 25 steps to launch drones within your public safety department. So, as I mentioned Mike, is the chief public safety flight instructor at dart drones.
He is also an active law enforcement officer firefighter and EMT. He has 20 plus years of manned and unmanned aviation experience a bachelor’s, degree in aeronautics from Embry Riddle, Aeronautical University and is also the UAS unit supervisor and chief pilot for his public safety agency.
So I wanted to just quickly run through a few public safety drone use cases first is search and rescue also suspect pursuit, payload deployment, vehicle or crime scene investigations, night operations, tactical operations, structural fire operations and disaster recovery and damage assessment.
So obviously there’s. You know there’s, a lot of different ways to utilize drones in public safety, and these are just a few that we wanted to mention so now. I will pass it over to Mike to cover the 25 steps.
Yep, you’re good, okay! Well, thank you! Everyone for coming today! This is definitely a rather involved topic question for Public Safety. That doesn’t have a lot of experience with it, but from what I’ve, seen 2018 seems to be the break out year for Public Safety to really go and integrate this technology into their day-to-day operations.
So today we’re going to go through, as she said, the 25 steps, because this is just the beginning of where you’re. Looking at your planning, I’m guessing that’s, where most of you are probably so. We’ll, go through this one by one.
So first thing you have to identify. What do you want the program to do? Some agencies are using them across the board for pretty much anything that they can find a use for, and others are looking very specific, a lot of times from what we’re.
Seeing the forensics side for crime scene investigations accident scene investigations. They are the ones that’s, adopting this technology more and utilizing the mapping and modeling functions of it, and some agencies that’s.
All they’re planning on doing for the time being and then no plan to expand down the road. But you need to narrow down what are your use cases and what you actually want them to do, because that’s really going to drive your budget.
Your aircraft selection, your technology selection. Now your other one is also how you can grow within the department. Are you going to be a special unit that is all off on your own? Are you looking to have dedicated UAS operators, who that is, they’re dedicated job, or is this going to be a side role where you have existing officers that are trained to utilize this and essentially keep it with them in the event that the Technologies needed: how are you going to improve? Now? We have profitability for us in law enforcement, Public Safety.
We more consider that project efficiency. What are we able to go and add to the job to go and keep people safer? Do the job faster be more economical of our work hours, so that comes into? Where are we looking at the efficiency side? And then what are you really hoping to accomplish with the program as a whole? There’s, a lot of good things.
We can do with this. You just have to narrow down what direction are we wanting to move forward with it? So number one rules, rules and more rules. Biggest thing with the drone industry is that we are trying to form ourselves as a professional function and with that we have to follow the professional either best practices or existing legislation or regulations have been put in place now in August of 2016 is when the part 107 went live.
Car 107 was what formally introduced commercial drone operator and aircraft regulations to the country through the FAA. So with that, many agencies are selecting part 107, primarily because its ease of use and also quite flexible.
We will talk a little bit about the certificate of authorization as well, because as a public entity, you also have the option to go and operate underneath of the certificate of authorization. It can be a little bit more of an involved process.
Sometimes you have to understand what you’re, putting into it, but a lot of agencies across the board. I recommend going and getting 107 simply because having that certificate in hand shows that your operators have gone through some form of the training to go and be licensed as a federal aviation recognize remote pilot.
So with part 107, though, the downside is, we do have to deal with authorizations and waivers. So you’re going to have to do night flights. You have to have a night waiver to go along with it. I recommend if your agency is even looking at a UAS program, you can file your night waiver right off the bat you do not have to have an authorized pilot or operator, but to get that because typically it does take about 30 to 60 days to get That and from those of us in public safety, we’re, a 24/7 business, so the night waiver is definitely needed right off the bat visual line of sight.
That is something we do have to be able with. There is a waiver that’s available for it. I will say it’s rather difficult to get, but for the most part, depending on how you train a lot of the operators.
At my agency, we’re comfortable working up to about a half mile away from our launch and landing point so essentially, depending on where we’re located. We have about a mile grid that we can cover. That is a lot of territory and then flying over crowds.
Now flying over crowds is another one. It does require a specialized waiver unless you have a certificate of authorization. If you you go the certificate of authorization route, you will automatically be able to fly at night.
That is part of the certificate of authorization process and you will be able to fly over people for a life safety or Public Safety need. So that’s, kind of an important factor there to take into consideration so from the FAA that’s gonna be very, very specific across the country.
But then the other thing that you do have to be careful of is your local and state legislation and that’s, something we’re not going to delve into heavy until we get into the comments and questions section, primarily because every State is different, so you really have to research.
What is my state doing about this? Not only what is current, but also what is coming up in the future. So what does it take to really get a program up and running? It is a lot of work. I will not go and sugarcoat it.
You do need somebody that is dedicated to this program and is willing to put in the work primarily because if you are going to be a certificate of authorization holder, you definitely have to have somebody that is running that program.
That is asking the right questions that’s, answering the FAA, the way that they want and getting that up and running. So when you do this, you’re. Looking at everything, from initial planning of what you’re, going to do, how you’re, going to handle maintenance, how you’re, going to assign positions of who is going to be a chief pilot? Who’s, going to be a maintenance officer? You may have to get administration involved, so there’s, definitely more than one person that does this, so everyone there needs to understand.
We have to work together on us. This is not a one-person type environment; it definitely takes a team to really go and make this situation work so resources. What all do we need? Primarily, you need people and you need research that’s.
What it comes down to you have to stay current and, when I say stay current, not only on your regulations, your legislation and everything else that comes up, but also on your flight abilities. You always want to be training that’s.
One thing that we’re, usually fairly comfortable with, and Public Safety as a whole, primarily because we’re just so used to training everything that we do requires training. So it’s, not something that you can go and purchase this not use it for two months and then all of a sudden it’s, pull it out of the box and we have to use it for a major call.
You want this to be utilized on a regular basis, stay updated on the industry as a whole, primarily because in the past three years the technology has absolutely gone exponential. So what was available two years ago is completely morphed into something different and something that was a pipe dream two years ago now exists as common practice.
So you definitely want to go and stay up with what is not not only coming out. But what’s going to be coming out five years from now, because as fast as this industry is growing, it’s really hard to say what we’re even going to be seeing in the next couple years.
Maintenance. You do have to have somebody that is going to be responsible for that aircraft, whether you have one or five somebody very similar to the manned aviation industry has to be responsible to make sure that that aircraft is kept up to air worthiness standards.
Every single flight, you cannot let that go so a lot of times. What I recommend is have a single individual that is assigned to that task, because otherwise it gets very convoluted. You’ll have 15 different people, and one guy just did this, and another guy did that it’s easier to have them report to a single individual that this needs done and then have that done by a single individual rather than Piecemealing it up safety procedures, huge safety management system.
If you’ve, never heard the term a lot of times it’s more buried in the aviation side. One thing that I do recommend is that the newly anointed airborne Public Safety Association used to be the airborne law enforcement Association, but they’ve recently changed their name.
They have been working on a draft set of standards to go along with this, and, I would say, probably: 50 % of that document is the safety management system of how are we going to keep ourselves safe? How are we going to recognize unsafe activities and then how are we going to deal with them from there? So this whole industry is about safety because we cannot afford.
We are too out there. We are too public to be able to go and do something that could potentially go and put us into an area where care it’s. Reckless, it cannot be tolerated and then fly every week. I begin going back to the whole currency, not only going and keeping currently your legislation and regulations, but a lot of places.
They have fly day Fridays and even with my agency, all of my pilots. They’re required to have free flight events a month, and that does not have to be an operation. That does not mean that you have to go out there and actually be actively searching for somebody or be assigned to a mission.
This could be you go out. You fly around the parking lot for five. Ten minutes go and do a mapping mission, something just to keep current with the technology in the aircraft, so that you’re familiar with what it’s.
Doing and it changes if we’re gonna recognize there’s, any airspace issues that are coming up any sort of air worthiness issues, keep Colonel on and keep the aircraft flying. Okay, training: where are you gonna? Go with it? The main reason that I say where are you going to go is that this is very dependent upon what experience you have existing in your agency.
If you happen to be lucky – and you have somebody that is a remote-controlled aviation aficionado or you have somebody that has a private pilot’s license or a commercial pilot’s license. That is a huge resource because, as I tell my agency guys, because they kind of get overwhelmed from time to time, welcome to aviation and that’s, really what it comes down to.
So those individuals who have a background in that or a massive resource because they already understand what goes into this. They understand the safety procedures and checklists and why we do what we do in the aviation industry, because some agencies they don’t, have anyone with any aviation experience, so they’re starting from scratch in a brand new industry.
Sometimes it’s better, to go and look outside and bring in that outside training, because then they can teach you how to go through those safety steps and keep everything up and running, depending on how often you use it.
Some agencies are even outsourcing that, when I say outsourcing essentially, what they are doing is that they will hire a private company to go and do their drone operations for them. If it’s, one of those that you are planning on pretty much keeping it at crime scene, you’re, keeping it at very basic operations.
You may want to look at actually hiring an outside business that does UAS services of some sort and bring them in now. They can operate underneath of your certificate of authorization that is allowed and they can also offer rate where most of them are part.
107. Commercial operators anyways, but they still have to follow all the local and state legislation. So if your state has something that limits law enforcement for the use of the drone, be it evidence, collection or even what sensors it can carry those individuals that you’re.
Bringing in from the outside also have to follow those same rules because they are in a law enforcement capacity. Underneath of your your program so depend on what you want to do. You can go either way if you do plan on flying it on a regular basis.
One thing with the certificate of authorization is: it does give you the ability to self certify your pilot’s, which means you can develop a training program in-house. That will allow you that, when you feel that you are comfortable with your pilot’s to physically sign them off and then allow them to go and fly the difficulty with that, is you really need to make sure that that training program is 100 %, because if something does occur, I can guarantee you, the FAA is going to be there asking we needed to see how this person was trained.
What curriculum? What & #? 39 s, your syllabus? What is the training program consist of so again going back to that whole part 107. It never hurts to have the part 107 certificate. If you have that, in your hand, you have proof from the FAA that you have done what is required by them to go and be a commercial operator, which, essentially is what we’re basically asked.
Even though we’re operating in a public safety capacity budget budget budget, this is always an issue, especially with Public Safety, because most of us do not have $ 20,000 laying around to where we can just go and use it for whatever we want.
Typically, this is going to go and require approval from a city council, county council, depending on what your program happens to be so. Aircraft sky’s. The limit on this one anywhere from a $ 700 DJI spark for doing tactical operations and barricaded subjects up to even over $ 30,000.
Depending on what you happen to purchase. A lot of agencies are going to be looking at lower-end to just kind of get started, and then they’ll move forward from there, but depending on what you want to go and look at that’s, where you’Re you’re gonna be paying for now accessories.
When you set up your budget is, do not go and just put for the aircraft you are going to need basic batteries. You’re, going to need probably a mobile device of some sort. You’re, going to need for my agency my aircrafts able to carry flashlights.
We had to go and put that into the budget. We have a payload delivery system, so that was part of it as well. So there was a lot more of the accessory side as well insurance, depending on how your city handles this.
My city, we are a self-insured. It seems like that can be relatively common amongst city government type of thing. So if you do that, though, you need to go talk to your legal side, because they are the ones that understand what will and will not fall underneath of that policy, because sometimes aviation is actually an exempt object.
So if you have an aviation department – and I mean either manned or unmanned, because it is considered the same – you do have to go and verify that there is either a rider that is specifically attached or you have a separate policy that is going to cover liability.
Hull insurance for aircrafts replacement in case something occurs. Training part 107 is rather basic through dart drones. We offer the online version and in person so that will get you through depending on what the program is that you want to do, but it is a knowledge exam and that’s.
One thing to remember with this is that part 107. Does nothing more than test your knowledge so from a trained? We’re gonna talk about that here in a few minutes. This is what gets you certified through the FAA? It’s, not actually teaching you how to fly the aircraft once you do that you do have to pay an exam fee.
So one hundred fifty dollars a person that is paid to the testing site wherever you happen to go and then platform-specific training. Most agencies will start out with a single type. So, like my agency, we run a DJI inspire 1.
That is what my pilots learn on, primarily because it’s a little bit bigger aircraft. So I would rather have them learn on a little bit more complex aircraft, and then we have aircraft specific ratings like we are adding a DJI Matic over, so that we can use it for covert operations.
Search-And-Rescue barricaded subjects, so there’ll, be a separate, probably about an hour, so course that will go and transfer them over. So now they’ll, be written off that they can now fly the Maverick, and it would be the same thing if we happen to purchase a phantom 4 pro for doing mapping and crime scene modeling.
We would have a separate section and it’s more. They’ve, already learned how to fly. We know that they can fly, but now we’re, just teaching the individual aircraft systems, because they do differ just a little bit depending on the aircraft and then, of course, thermal most of us in public safety.
Thermal is a definite advantage and that’s. Really the one sensor that if you’re gonna, spend some money that’s, where it’s. Gon na come from anywhere from two thousand up to. Fourteen thousand and it can sound like a lot of money.
Believe me when you go to finance and you ask for a fifteen thousand dollar Cameron or Kylie. Why and what does it do it’s just in nature, that’s? What the technology happens to cost? So when you do, if you are going to look at the thermal side, we’re, going to talk a little bit about the thermal side.
Make sure that you do this is one of those buy ones cry ones. Types of environments, if you get the cheaper camera that has the lower resolution, it may not be capable of performance that you need to do your job.
So a lot of places. You are probably looking at a mid line of about 5,000 to 7,000 for a thermal setup depending on what you happen to have. Is your primary aircraft? Okay, going back to the attorney is going to be everything from the insurance we already spoke about that just make sure that you do have insurance and it’s covered, but also especially with your state and local laws.
Because, honestly, a lot of this is so new. Even the state attorneys don’t even know that it exists, so we had an operation. Earlier this summer we’re in the process of trying to get a search warrant and it was on a group that had stolen her car, so it was rather odd as those of us in public safety know things happen quick, so sometimes you are Literally, trying to wake up a judge at 3:00 in the morning to find someone that will sign a search warrant and you, as the drone guy, is probably going to have to actually in inform your attorney as to.
This is how the whole thing works, because they really haven’t even looked at this, so mostly we’re. Looking at privacy concerns that’s, the biggest now one thing we deal with in Florida since I’m familiar with it is the unwarranted surveillance Act came out in 2015 and basically it lays out that from a law enforcement capacity, unless We have an exigent circumstance, so we have either.
Somebody is at threat of being severely harmed or death suspect that’s, flinging destruction of evidence. We have to have a warrant to collect evidence of any type. That means that basically, we are not even really allowed to do traffic monitoring unless we can articulate that it’s being done underneath of one of those exigent circumstances or a warrant was written.
So you have to explain to your city attorney or your county attorney. This is how this works, and we just want you to be aware of it, because there may be the time that I have to call you and ask: what is your interpretation of this and how far do you think that we can go with it? Some states there’s, no regulations at all.
If you want to go out there and do traffic enforcement with it, there’s, absolutely nothing wrong with that. So you do have to go by your state. That definitely is a major thing. Now, outside of us operating and just a little bit of information for your officers, if they do happen to encounter a drone pilot, is that local municipalities, this would be either city or county, can go and control takeoff and landing areas.
So if it is a city owned property, being apart, being a city hall parking lot, a police department parking lot, they can go and write legislation or an ordinance that goes and limits the ability to take off and land at that location.
But they do not control the airspace. Faa controls the airspace of anything above a blade of grass. So there are no cities that are allowed to actually go and say: drone is banned in our city. You cannot bring a drone.
You cannot fly a drone in our city technically as long as the individuals following land use protocol. They can do that with that. You can go forward with trespassing if it is a zone. Commercial versus residential.
The city may have more control over the property depending on what it is and criminal statute violations just because it’s being done with a drone, doesn’t mean we need specific laws to outline a criminal violation, and we look at This with the whole privacy concern we really don’t need a new statute that says you cannot spy on somebody with a drone.
We already have a statute for that. We have stalking. Okay if it fits underneath of the state statute under stalking. Go ahead with it, we really don ‘ T need to go and reinvent the wheel here, for if someone runs into somebody with a drone in a malicious manner, charge them with battery that’s.
What they functionally did was they went and battered somebody, so we can still use criminal statute violations because there are some plays that are going on right now as to the FAA, allowing local law enforcement to enforce FAA statutes, because as of right now, local law enforcement, We do not have the ability, unless you have some sort of a Memorandum of Understanding with the federal government, to go and allow your officers to enforce the 400-foot rule or any of the other visibility rules that come with part 107.
They’re, not criminal, but you have to understand that there are certain things we can and cannot go and enforce based upon what our jurisdiction happens to be all right, step 8. Somebody has to be that guy.
You have to go and choose a chief pilot chief pilot is typically going to be your lower level. I do not recommend having an administrator as the chief pilot, the chief pilot should be somebody that is embedded in the unit knows what’s going on and is able to go and function with day-to-day operations.
The reason that I go and do not recommend having a captain or someone in the upper levels of administration being selected is the chief pilot is that they have a lot of other work that they have to do and there’s.
A lot of work that goes in with this program, so if you go and have them absolutely over, worked on one project, the other project may fall behind. So this is a good opportunity to pick somebody. It could be lower level like a sergeant could be even an officer that’s, made the chief pilot depending on their level of expertise with the program, but they’re responsible for everything.
Now they can delegate, they may have a Safety Officer. They may have. A maintenance officer depends on how big your program is going to be it’s all scalable, but you’d, have to pick some guy. That is going to be the head of that and keep everything up and organized.
So what do you want to buy lots of options out there now? One thing here we are showing DJI, primarily because DJ is biggest on the block. I do understand some of the security concerns that come along with DJI products because they order Chinese.
He’s based a company. There have been issues with the cloud-based capture of photographs and stuff along those lines, so some agencies – they may not go with DJI. They may be going with another company such as unique or something that’s more closed source.
So then, that way, they know that what they’re capturing, especially if you’re, doing something with critical infrastructure. So if you’re looking at nuclear power plants or something that is a national security type of thing well, we’re, going to talk about three real quick.
Basically, these are going to be three that are probably the most common amongst the public safety agencies and number one is gonna, be the Phantom 4 Pro honestly phantom 4 Pro for the money probably has one of the best cameras on it.
That’s out there right now. So if you are looking at crime scene, investigations accident scene investigations anything along those lines. The phantom 4 probe is probably one of the best out there, and usually it’s very, very cost effective.
You’re, looking at about 1,500 dollars for the setup. Just remember, you do have to go and cover your bases for extra batteries and everything else that you need, but it is a very, very good daylight option that can be utilized for other tasks, but it really excels in that accident.
Scene. Investigation sided, DJI, inspire 1. Now, the reason that I do recommend the one versus the two – and I do get this question from time to time currently, unless you want to go and make some sort of an aftermarket thermal camera option for it, the inspire 2 does not have a thermal camera.
Plug-And-Play option for the aircraft DJI designed it as a cinematography aircraft. It is made to take really nice pictures and video for television, but it is not necessarily designed for public safety use, so the venerable DJI inspire 1.
Now, sadly, I’ve, seen rumors that as of April, it will be technically discontinued. So it may actually be a really good time to pick these up, even though they are being discontinued. Do not let that be a just a deterrent from purchasing, because there are plenty of parts out there.
They are just not going to have anymore firmware updates, but the thing is they fly perfectly fine now and they ‘ Ll fly perfectly fine. Five years from now, so the DJI inspire 1, the biggest benefit with it.
It is a larger aircraft so especially for outdoor operations in the wind. I personally have a DJI inspire 1 at my agency. We use for hurricane Irma, and I was in winds, 35 to 45 gusting upwards of 60, and I was still able to go and successfully complete the mission safely and efficiently, for what I was looking to do.
Other big benefit is that it does have a plug-and-play thermal option. So if you do get the inspire one, you will typically get it with a visual camera, usually the x3 or if you’re. Looking for a zoom capability, moving up to the z3 or even the x5 can be a good option, but you can also buy one of those n use XT series which are from FLIR, and now you have a thermal option that by doing nothing more than turning A quick walk, mount dropping one camera off and putting another camera back on.
You can go, have a thermal option. What they’re going into, though now is the DJI 200 2:10 mitrice platform. The biggest advantage with this is increased flight time. The 210. There are weatherproof so that way, if you’re operating in nastier weather, you are able to operate in rain and that type of situation, but one of the biggest benefits I would say for the mitrice 210 platform, specifically is dual camera option.
You were actually able to go and put a visual camera directly next to a thermal camera and be able to get live feed from both of them. Recently, I will say I just had a internet where we had a suspect run from mas, and I had to flip back and forth.
This was a daylight operation, but sometimes thermal is an advantage during the day as well. We had to go and switch back and forth between cameras. Our original search was done doing a visual camera worked out well, but there were areas of trees that were dark that I was not able to penetrate into so.
We swapped out to the vision or the thermal camera. The problem is the thermal camera. Now I was identifying officers because I would see them and I would have to pay very, very close attention of who was where, because to me on a thermal camera, they’re, no longer a police officer wearing a blue or a green uniform.
They’re now, a black or white blob walking across the field. So the dual camera option on the mitrice 210 is a huge advantage, because now you can switch from the thermal view. Locating the suspect over to the visual view and confirm that they do fit the description of what you’re.
Looking for the other one. We don’t mention on here specifically, but we do utilizes thematic Jam at approp, excellent, small platform for tactical operations. Quiet you put it up at about 200 feet. No one’s even going to know it’s there.
You get about 27 or 30 minutes of flight time and it handles the wind fairly well so for search warrants and tactical operations, especially the SWAT team, does a great job and for the most part it’s, going to be the most cost effective Because it’s typically found at about 800 to 900 dollars.
Ok, step 10 cameras all comes down to money. Whatever you happen to use the most common for us in public safety is going to be the visual camera. The thermal, if you are familiar with lidar, can be very useful for mapping, especially if you’re, doing a lot of like traffic homicide incidents where having that accuracy is very, very important, but for the most part it’s outside the Scope of what most of us in Public Safety do, multispectral kind of similar it’s.
Another sensor system, where we’re able to tune into a specific spectrum of light, can be useful, but again right now the technology is still outside. Of the budget of most agencies, so your training program can be very involved, and I recommend that it is especially if you have people that have absolutely no background in remote aviation piloting or aviation in general, it can be quite involved.
I will say that, typically, depending on how much training time you you can get that on average, my officers take about three months from the day that they start the program to the day that they graduate as an operationally authorized pilot, because, especially for us in public Safety there’s, a lot that goes into this.
We may be called to do things that are outside of the scope of what a normal commercial operator would be, because we may be dropping a payload to the front porch of a suspects property to go and deliver a phone charger.
I had to do that earlier. This month, or actually not this month next sorry earlier last year, so you may be called to do some oddball things so the different levels that I go with administrative you have to go and teach your pilots how your policy is set up.
So this is going to cover part 107, so they understand the FAA regulations, state and local legislation and also what is written into your specific policy basic flight. This just get Sam airborne, so this is going to get them up in the air.
Teach them how to get proper orientation, keep them safe and make them at least competent of basic flight maneuvers. Then we move on to our advanced operations. This is going to be operations at night.
That is a completely different. Ballgame thing is: is for us that’s, half of our work shift, so you do have to understand. How are you going to operate it tonight, understanding how the lighting systems work the FAA regulations, when operating at night, the waiver specifics that you have written in for your specific night waiver payload deployment with my agency, we are directly along the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s, one nice thing: the office views relatively well when you ‘ Re driving through jurisdiction can see the beach, but we do keep a life-preserver with the aircraft. Our inspire one is equipped with a stork system, which is a payload deployment system, and we do keep a life preserver with the aircraft in the event that we are ever called for a water rescue, and it can be very interesting to see how you can drop A life preserver literally into the hand of a drowning victim, so we just recently saw that in Australia.
You did happen to see the video I recommend doing a search on it, because that shows that we are definitely not something that can only take pictures and video. We’re now operating well outside of that, and then, of course, we can also do mapping, and that is a skill in its own.
So those types of individuals you do want them trained for that specific skill, emergency procedures, I tell my pots: we don’t train for when things go right. We train for when things go wrong, so we want them to understand what happens if GPS drops out what happens if we have a lost link, type situation? What happens if the wind starts blowing in shifts 90 degree East, and now it’s? Blowing 10 miles an hour faster than it was emergency procedures have to be harped on it’s hard on extremely long and involved in the aviation industry and the unmanned.
It should be no different, then you have scenario based the scenario based is usually we try to do that once a month and we’ll go out there and just make up a scenario Alzheimer’s. Patient went missing.
We’re, going to go, try and find them and go through everything from setting up to aircraft deployment search patterns. Everything that you do find one of your other officers and have them wander your jurisdiction and try and find them.
Because when you start looking at the screen, you’ll, start to understand how to process the data that you’re. Actually seeing so each one of those steps has a different function to it, but it’s very important to go through all of them to really be a well-rounded pilot program funding.
This is going to be selling the idea and, depending on how much support you have from your city and your administration, this can be incredibly easy, or this could be an uphill battle. It really depends on how much support you had.
I was fortunate. My city counts. After our first flights there in hurricane Matthew back in September 2016, when I delivered over the data of what we were able to do, they were all for it. I had all support.
I could basically buy anything that I wanted some agencies, depending on their demographic and the belief of their individuals and citizens. They may have to go and prove we are not playing on misusing this technology.
We are not going to be spying on you. We are not Big Brother, so what I recommend take the thing out there and show it off. A couple months ago we had ice cream with a cop with my agency. It was kind of an offshoot of coffee with the cop.
If anyone else has ever done that, mostly through the Community Relations side, we did it for the kids so rather than coffee, it was ice cream. But we took the drone out there and I had everyone from a six year old to an 80 year old flying.
It and they were out there having a really good time with it. They got to see what the display looked like, and I probably heard five or 10 times. Oh wow, I’m. Just a couple pixels, this thing, doesn’t, show what I thought it showed.
So sometimes we have to go and break and show what the technology really is. You may have to create a presentation, and this is going to show the positives of what drone technology can do. It shows what we can’t do so then that way, it lays out some of the lay some of the fears that some of the public happens.
They have grants. There are some out there. Homeland Security has a couple. Doj has a couple recently. We actually just launched it today through dart. Drones is $ 100,000 grant promise. So if you are looking for assistance with your funding for your training, you can go to the dart drones website Leisha.
I may talk about that a little bit more towards the end, but our goal is to get this technology into the hands of public safety agencies, because, honestly, it saves lives and that’s. What it comes down to other agencies may look at forfeiture funds.
So if you do happen to have a forfeiture fund, we actually just pulled from ours to purchase some new aircraft accessories, so that’s. Always an option as well depend on what it takes to go and get that funding approved, show other departments, because sometimes you can go and work with other departments within your city.
I’m, not talking about other departments as to other agencies, but for me I actually utilize all aircraft from the Public Safety Agency to go and assist the building department for doing building inspections.
I also work with our Chamber of Commerce, so when they want pictures of this city for new brochures or of promotional video for the city, I work with them. So remember think outside the box, because the more value that you can bring to the city or the county as a whole, the more valuable that you happen to become okay, you do have to register with the FAA.
So don’t forget to do that. It is $ 5 per aircraft and you have to register each aircraft individually as a commercial aircraft. So don’t forget to do that. You can use the new drone zone portal that’s, gonna be through the FAA, and the nice thing is the new portal does work relatively well.
If anyone’s not familiar with it, it was a changeover from the old system and it will also allow you to manage all your airspace authorizations, your waivers and anything else that you happen to file for okay.
What sighs some agencies may want? Ten. Some agencies may want one kind of depends on what you want to go and do do and how you’re going to set it up. My agency were relatively small for 36 swarms, so we’re, not a whole large agency, but our goal was to have a an approved pilot on every ship, so we run 24 hour shifts.
We run the standard two days on two days off type of ship, so our goal was to try and have at least one person on every shift, so one on day shift one on night shift that is capable of keeping that aircraft with them and deploying with It some agencies, if they’re, going to do nothing but cry.
I’m, supporting it maybe assigned over to the detective side, so you may only have one or two people that happen to be so it’s, going to really depend on what your agency happens to be wanting from size, wise, okay, Part 107.
I tell people, it is not difficult that it is technical if you have not been ever involved in the aviation industry. So if you’ve, never been any part of private pilot sport pilot commercial pilot, it can be a bit overwhelming and I tell my students when they take the 107 test by noon.
You’re gonna think there’s, absolutely no way. I’m gonna pass this test. You’re, going to be reading, aeronautical, charts, understanding airspace understanding whether there is a lot this, but we get you through it.
Okay, me personally, I’ve. Never had one of the students in my classes take the test and fail. We can get you through it, it’s just you have to learn the right ways to go and take the test and understand that this is an information that you’re just using to pass the test.
One thing that we really push in aviation is that your license is not an operation or a license to operate. It is a license to learn so it’s caught up learning, okay aviation. Just do that real briefly, since we talked about it, didn’t verify that your policy, whatever you happen to be using city, is going to cover a nation segment that’s.
The biggest thing you have to be sure. So talk to your League Department, they’ll, have more information on what you need to do with that big training just get out there and fly that’s right. That’s. The one nice thing about this is that when you ask guys hey, you want to take an hour off the shift and go fly.
I’ve, never had anyone say no so get out there and train them. But again it does take some time. Typically, my officers, by the time that they, through the entire process they have about ten hours of flight time and that’s when they get signed off.
Some of them have 15. Some of them happen have less, but we do force them to have at least primarily because they have to have at least 10 hours to go and be competent from their flight blog, and this is going to be for not only the aircraft but for the pilot.
Your path should be documenting every single hour or any single operation that they go and do we documented on not only for the aircraft for a mission specific, so each mission is documented, each maintenance flight is documented, but you also want to document the pilot and also What kind of flight it was was it a night operation was a daylight operation.
Was it for training because you really want to go and have a log? What pilot has done and we’re, seeing this just in the UAS industry in general? Is that we’re now seeing companies that are actually hiring UAS pilots, but they want to go and actually have some form of proof that the pilot does of certain levels of experience so document document document.
As with anything SOP manual, you can talk with other agencies. You can also work with us at dart drones this year. With this, this is going to cover a lot of stuff. It’s. Gon na cover how you deploy what you deploy with, who has to be able to deploy or authorized the deployment of the aircraft.
How are you gonna operate around the airports? Are you going to simply speak to your jurisdiction? Are you going to allow outside a jurisdiction for mutual aid? How are you going to have that control everything from PI election to pilot training and one thing one real, quick, the pilot selection? This is a really good opportunity, go and be part of a specialized unit, because it it shows that individuals that have grown with technology they seem to have a really easy time transferring over into this.
So this is a really good opportunity. I know that most of us in public safety, we’re, very seniority based, but this is a good opportunity to go outside of that seniority and a lot of your younger officers to actually go and do quite a bit and then again we talked Briefly, on the safety management system, that’s, something that we can do down the road with you, because it is a very involved process and it’s basically outlined.
How are we going to go and sure that we stay safe to any operations? How do we identify undefined? How are we going to correct them? Okay, maintenance schedule. I do monthly inspections. You may want to do Bily weekly inspections.
I probably wouldn’t. Go to less than a month, though, or sorry more than a month, I would have it leave one month. Whoever is your dedicated maintenance officer and it’s, not necessarily tearing the aircraft, but it is going to be a thorough inspection of the aircraft itself.
So what we’re looking to do is go and make sure that we don’t have any screws that are loose for any components that are cracked damaged, any sort of issues. One thing that I also do is that for the inspire one every 25 hours, we replace the props, no matter that an issue or not simply because I would much rather there’s on the set of plastic propellers than have one fail in flight.
Slinging a 14,000 thermal camera underneath of the aircraft, so there’s, certain things that you’ll, come up with it or life limited parts and just in general, an inspection and again going back to that.
Logging make sure that’s documented. So then that way, if the FAA ever would ask, because would you take 107 part of it? You are required to show those documents so make sure that you have that cover.
Ok, commercial drone software. This is going to be third-party software, especially within the DJI realm, so whether you’re, going to go with it or a logging function, some of my guys use drone logbook Kittyhawk, I oh another good one.
Skyward is a good one. We also utilize air map for some of our other officers to the now it’s kept on our display, so we can always try our space, but also, if you get into the mapping saw you can look it’s stuff, like Drone play you can look at pix 4d now one thing to keep in mind, though you do start looking at some of those third-party software is that some of it is cloud-based processing.
So you have to take your data and send it out to a company to be processed, especially within the mapping and modeling world, obviously for those of us in law enforcement. That can be a problem, because now we’re losing our chain of custody by getting that out to another area that we cannot control.
Some of the companies just have to investigate. They do have a desktop or a hardcopy software that you can have on a desktop at your agency, and you can keep that chain of custody intact throughout the entire process.
You just have to look at what software happens to work best for you, ok market. It. You do just like a commercial company kind of goes back to the whole, winning hearts and minds. Not only do you have to win them, but then you have to keep them because, especially if you were going to start operating this aircraft and this unit on a regular basis, they’re, going to see it there’s, no real Way to hide and inspire one flying around at 150 feet just the other day.
When I was doing that thermal mission, I had a guy jumping up and down waving at me. I thought it was gonna throw a rock at ok. They’re gonna see it so you can’t just go and say we have the program. We’re good to go.
You have to keep them involved with it. So then that way there’s. So my agency, we’re fairly active on Facebook, anytime, that we fly the drone we usually will post up there. This is what we’re doing.
This is why we’re doing it, and we may actually show some of the footage that was legally obtained. So then that way people can see. Okay. This is what they’re doing. They’re, not hovering over. My pool because they’re trying to spy on me.
Definitely not everyone’s going to be excited about it. You may have a segment of your jurisdiction that isn’t and that’s, just something that we have to deal from. Just understand that a lot of times, city councils are relatively sensitive to that kind of thing, because those are also voters, so we definitely do not want to go, and one thing my agency does for training.
We don’t hover over anyone’s house because training a lot of times you’re just kind of sitting there. You’re discussing what’s, going on you’re discussing the flight behavior. What you don’t want to do is have that aircraft hovering over mrs.
Jones backyard for 15 minutes, because, even though you are doing something completely unrelated, she thinks you’re spying on her. So keep in mind what perception you’re gonna have outside of what you’re, actually doing and show your community how they help again going back to the whole ice cream with a cop, but going show and showcase what you Are actually doing so if you have a successful mission or if you have a something that’s, going on with a disaster you’re able to show this is what we collected put that out there, okay upgrade the platform.
Everyone wants. Bigger and better, but we have to start somewhere so a lot of times, especially smaller agencies want to kind of do a whole. Let’s, see what happens. Type of thing so buy something smaller.
Usually they’ll start with something like a mattock or even a phantom 4 and then spire 1 and then maybe a couple years down the road. Now that they have an established program, they’ll go and they ‘
Ll. Look forward from there just be careful when you purchase, because you want something that’s going to be sustained. So it’s, not going to be a company that simply puts something out for three months and then the company goes bankrupt.
And now you’re stuck with something that can’t, be upgraded or repaired. So do be careful when you are purchasing that you’re, getting it from a very stable company, advanced training. They is a huge segment.
My personal training program we have about ten different segments. A lot of it comes down to being able to operate.