Cops Now Using Drones To Fight Crime

( – Police and law enforcement around the world have begun to deploy drones and artificial intelligence to facilitate policing and apprehension of criminals. Drones are used to deploy to areas where police might not be able to reach or to give them a vantage point that otherwise wouldn’t be available. AI is being used to serialize police reports in Fort Collins, while other departments have begun to explore using AI to detect patterns in criminal activity. The information helps them determine where street cops should be deployed for maximum impact.

The police are already using ~1,400 drones nationwide in the U.S. The Nashville Police Department recently used drone footage to capture a shoplifter. The drone operated by police was able to identify the suspect at night, garnering his location so he could be apprehended.

The use of drones allows the police to have real-time visuals on suspects so they can be tracked or recorded engaging in ongoing criminal activity. The information allows officers to arrest and aid prosecutors by supplying evidence of the crime.

Critics like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have raised concerns about privacy and lack of oversight. In their bulletin from last summer, the organization highlighted the fact that many police departments are regularly deploying drones to the locations of 911 calls. They suggested local communities think carefully about how they want to regulate the practice; warning that if they do not, there could be numerous government-operated cameras flying around our communities in the near future.

Artificial Intelligence is being used somewhat differently. Companies like Truleo offer software that comb through millions of hours of police body cam footage which otherwise wouldn’t be viewed. In exchange for a ~$50,000/year license, the company allows departments to select behaviors they want to flag for review, like interrupting a suspect, using profanity, turning their cameras off, or using physical force.

Truleo co-found Anthony Tassone pointed out that some cops fail to introduce themselves, interrupt civilians, fail to explain the situation, and bark commands before getting violent. He suggested his company could help curb bad policing by helping departments identify it early.

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