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At this point, the aircraft can only be flown during daylight hours and less than 400 feet above the ground. The small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) must be flown within line of sight of the officer who is remotely piloting the UAS, which essentially means it must be flown in the general area where it takes off. The equipment has to be driven to the incident scene and unloaded. The police department is not allowed to fly directly over crowds such as football games or parades.
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Some of the first radio-controlled airplanes (drones) were developed in the 1930ʼs by the Radioplane Company. The military used these aircraft as flying targets to train and hone the skills of anti-aircraft gunners. During World War II, the Radioplane Corporation produced over 15,000 of these aircraft for the U.S. Army. Since then technology has improved greatly, and although the term "drone" is still commonly used in the military, we prefer to use the more current, and more descriptive term, Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).
Very simply stated Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) fly using a sophisticated autopilot system that assists the pilot when flying the aircraft manually, or has the ability to fly the aircraft by itself using a pre-loaded flight plan designed by the pilot for that specific mission. Our aircraft is powered by a clean, efficient battery system, and during flight the aircraft sends a constant stream of information to the pilot indicating the:
If there is a loss of communication or the batteries are getting too low, the aircraft has the ability to execute a "fail-safe" procedure and automatically return to the point of take-off for landing or gently land immediately.
They will be used in a variety of incidents, the use of which will increase the safety of the officers on scene and the general public. Incidents in which the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Unit may be deployed include:
Our UAS will not be used to pursue vehicles, carry weapons of any kind, or conduct general surveillance.
No, your privacy will not be impacted. Maintaining an individual’s privacy and protecting the civil liberties of all persons is of paramount importance to the department. The Brown Deer Police Department is bound by federal law and the laws of the State of Wisconsin that direct the use of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) systems of all types and sizes, as it relates to the privacy of citizens. This same case law that applies to manned-helicopter programs that are used in many urban police departments across the country is the same case law that applies to these unmanned systems as well.
Both statutory laws and case laws dictate when search warrants must be obtained and provide limits on the use of technology by law enforcement to investigate suspected criminal activity in our community. In other words, if a search warrant is needed to access private property now such as looking in a backyard, then a search warrant would also be needed for accessing private property with our UAS. Again, our UAS program will not be used for arbitrary surveillance and must comply with all federal regulations and laws.