Is it really possible? Could drones replace police helicopters one day? According to one Arizona police chief, the answer is "yes." Tucson Police Chief, Chris Magnus, confirmed that his department is considering purchasing drones to replace their two helicopters. Magnus says maintaining both aerial vehicles is expensive, and they are approaching the end of their useful life.
"Yes, we are looking at drones," Magnus confirmed last week, saying keeping both helicopters flying is extremely costly. A third helicopter owned by the department has been grounded and is being used for parts.
"We have an air support unit that is incredibly costly," he added. "Why wouldn't it make sense to look at drones as a possible option? From a cost standpoint, drones are far less costly potentially than some of the costs over the long-term."
Also, the Chief emphasized that drones can be used in other areas, such as taking pictures of crime scenes or vehicle accidents.
If the proposal is approved by the city of Tucson, the revenue from the tax will not only benefit the law enforcement department and the fire department, but also it can be used to repair the streets of the city.
However, the proposal is still on consideration and no decision as been made yet. The president of the Tucson Police Officers' Association, Roland Gutierrez, explained that no matter how good the cameras on the drones are, they can't compete with the two officers on each helicopter flight.