Flying somewhat under the radar, the the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center – part of the Department of Homeland Security – posted this solicitation late last week seeking a contractor willing to provide five small drones and an accompanying training center to teach law enforcement officers how to operate sUAS.
Speculation is abundant as various pundits are attempting to read the tea leaves to ascertain precisely what the request means. However one thing is clear; DHS realizes that UAV's have arrived and law enforcement needs training to learn how to adapt and utilizes these rapidly evolving aircraft. “There is a lot of pent-up demand for drones for surveillance,” according to Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst at the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, Technology Project, reports Inverse. “We saw the story in Baltimore that didn’t involve drones, but it shows the kind of surveillance appetite that’s out there,” Stanley says.
The fact is this solicitation is more likely the tip of the iceberg. UAV's will certainly revolutionize many industries and law enforcement and security will be no exception. Companies like Miami-based Airborne Response are positioning themselves at the leading edge of the revolution by offering training and services to local municipalities and law enforcement personnel seeking to embrace sUAS technologies. "We view FAA Part 107 and the evolution of sUAS' as crucial for the future of law enforcement and homeland security," says Christopher Todd, Founder and CEO of Airborne Response. However, less than 1% off all police departments operate aviation units. This is new territory for law enforcement, and it is a complex environment. Airborne Response provides the expertise needed to help navigate the obstacles and implement an efficient, cost effect unmanned aviation system for their department or agency."