Drone technology is rapidly proving an invaluable asset within many industries, and law enforcement is no exception.
Police forces worldwide are integrating drones into their operations to take advantage of their remarkable efficiency, cost and safety advantages. The versatile nature of drones complements the daily activities of law enforcement operatives and the police force.
They’re lightweight, cost-effective, quickly deployed and provide officers with enhanced aerial & real-time situational awareness.
To help you learn more, we’ve covered the five best drones for law enforcement & police.
The 5 best drones for police & law enforcement
First on our list is the new Matrice 30T drone by DJI. Built and designed for ‘everyday heroes’, the DJI M30T is perfect for law enforcement operations.
The DJI M30T has an unparalleled ability to provide enhanced situational awareness and capture aerial data. It features a 640 x 512 thermal imaging camera (with super-resolution taking it to 1280×1024), enabling officers to quickly identify suspects in low light conditions. Beyond that, its powerful 5x – 16x optical zoom combined with a 48MP ½ CMOS sensor makes it easy to scope out locations and identify suspects clearly from safe distances. In addition, the M30 integrates a laser rangefinder and wide camera for further accuracy and detection capabilities.
The DJI M30T is also exceptionally environmentally adaptable and able to operate in the harshest of conditions. With IP55 protection, the M30 can easily handle adverse weather and temperatures ranging from -20°C to 50°C. With a 41-minute flight time and wind resistance of up to 15 m/s, it’s a rugged, reliable drone that won’t let you down. Dual vision and ToF sensors appear on all six sides of the aircraft, further adding to its dependability.
The DJI M30T is an incredible balance of power and portability ideal for the police force.
Sticking with DJI, the next drone we recommend for police and law enforcement agencies is the impressive DJI Matrice 300 RTK.
The DJI M300 has 55 minutes of flight time, advanced AI capabilities, multi-directional obstacle avoidance and a payload capacity of up to 2.5kg.
But a few features make this drone particularly useful for law enforcement agencies. The first is PinPoint: a capability that allows you to mark an object in camera or map view with a quick tap, and advanced sensor fusion algorithms will immediately calculate its coordinates, which are projected to all camera views as an AR icon.
The subject’s location can be automatically shared with another remote controller or to online platforms such as DJI FlightHub. A handy tool for search and rescue operations.
Smart Track allows you to identify and follow moving objects – for example, people, vehicles and boats. This is an incredible surveillance asset and is perfect for high-speed pursuits.
There are also two excellent payload configurations which complement the M300 in law enforcement operations. The first of which is the DJI Zenmuse H20T. A 640 x 512px radiothermic camera with a 20MP zoom camera and 1200m laser rangefinder. These impressive optics are an excellent complement to regular police force activities. The DJI Zenmuse H20N is another great choice, integrating starlight sensors into its zoom and wide-angle cameras. Combined with “optical” thermal zoom, it offers unrivalled night vision.
The DJI M300 is a versatile, powerful, reliable drone for law enforcement agencies.
At the higher end of the best drones for police and law enforcement agencies, we have the impressive Autel Dragonfish. This drone is mission ready right out of the box and includes powerful AI tracking capabilities and many modular payload options. Its tilt-rotor design allows you to switch from quadcopter mode to fixed-wing flight at the touch of a button.
The Dragonfish features a 4K, 50x optical zoom, with the pro model having an incredible battery life of 180 minutes flight time. Combine that with its 18.6-mile transmission range and 108 km/h max speed, and the Autel Dragonfish is an incredible tool for surveillance and defence operations.
The Dragonfish is also extremely reliable and with several fail-safe features to ensure it operates effectively in all scenarios. The aircraft has a robust composite outer shell and carbon fibre core, with a wind resistance rating of level 6 and IP43 weather resistance to handle adverse environments easily. The Dragonfish battery, barometer, positioning system, compass, and IMU all have backup modules to ensure flight safety.
Next on our list, we have the Sky Mantis by Evolve Dynamics. A medium-sized, rapid response drone designed for surveillance & special missions.
As a result, it has a wide range of features ideal for the police & law enforcement agencies. One of which is its dual HD low light EO and 640 x 512 30 FPS thermal camera – an incredible tool for locating people and animals in low light conditions. This camera also has a 30x optical zoom, which has a variety of uses, from identifying vehicle number plates to helping gain situational awareness when surveying an area or undertaking crowd control.
The Sky Mantis allows you to provide overwatch from 600 + metres without being seen or heard, and plotting waypoints enables you to carry out security perimeter inspections easily.
Regarding reliability and performance, the Sky Mantis won’t let you down. It can be deployed within one minute, has a 1-hour flight time and includes a fast battery swap to keep your mission going. In addition, it has heavy rain resistance and can function in winds up to 46 mph.
Overall, the Sky Mantis by Evolve Dynamics is a great all-rounder for the police.
Finally, we have the Autel Evo Dual 640T, branded by Autel as the most compact and advanced thermal drone.
Its standout feature for our purposes is its thermal imaging sensor, which has a resolution of 640 x 512 at 30fps. This provides pilots with the ability to see deep detail in dark environments. Beyond that, its 16x zoom means the drone can recognise subjects up to 100 metres away.
Another beneficial feature is Autel’s Dynamic Track 2.0. The EVO II Dual 640T can model the location and speed of targets simultaneously, predict their trajectory accurately, and track them continuously while identifying up to 64 objects at the same time. It records in 8K video with its 48MP sensor capturing every forensic-relevant detail to assist in precise evidence capture.
For applications such as search & rescue, crowd control, accident scene reconstruction, forensics and surveillance – the Autel EVO II Dual 640T is an excellent choice.
Police forces can take advantage of drones for numerous tasks, including:
Search & Rescue – drones are excellent tools in aiding search & rescue operations to locate missing persons. When fitted with thermal cameras, they can easily identify targets in low lighting conditions. In addition, powerful zoom capabilities allow drones to detect objects easily at a distance.
Drones are a cheaper search & rescue alternative to helicopters and can be deployed much faster. They also require less manpower than on-the-ground search teams.
These same advantages can be used to apprehend runaway suspects.
Crowd Control – drones are an excellent tool for law enforcement bodies to have in their arsenal for surveillance.
Where large masses of people are aggregated in one spot (such as major events, protests, or riots), it is beneficial to have an eye in the sky. Drones provide officers with incredible situational awareness and allow them to implement effective tactics to monitor crowd behaviour & movement.
Drones also allow officers to bypass heavy traffic to reach a crime scene or monitor traffic flow at a big event.
Disaster Response – drones are great for helping the police respond effectively to disaster scenarios where every second is vital.
Drones can be deployed quickly and can access otherwise inaccessible areas, providing officers with crucial, real-time feedback. All while keeping officers as far away from dangerous situations as possible.
Gathering Evidence – thanks to their unique aerial perspective, drones are great for gathering evidence at a crime scene.
Drones are an invaluable asset every police department and law enforcement agency should have in their arsenal. They provide officers with enhanced situational awareness, vital intelligence and access that could not otherwise be obtained.
Beyond that, their versatile nature means they’re effective for a wide range of operations. Combined with their cost-saving and efficiency advantages, it’s clear why drones are fast becoming an integral part of law enforcement and police operations.