UPDATED: October 2022
Drones have dramatically improved public safety operations around the world.
The effectiveness of drones as force multipliers in public safety operations cannot be overstated. In recent years, drones have emerged as powerful tools in this space - and the adoption of drones has only grown. In numerous countries throughout the world, they have contributed to public safety by saving time, money, and lives.
Many first responders, including police officers, firefighters, search and rescue teams, and other public safety organizations, employ a range of drones and payloads in their daily work to accomplish their duties better, safer, and faster.
Drones used for public safety operations must be flown by a licensed pilot who is capable of operating in a variety of environments and, in some cases, in difficult scenarios (for instance, in low-light conditions, urban zones with a lot of obstacles, and in bad weather). Drones used for public safety can also include varied payloads, such as thermal and night vision cameras, rescue supplies, speakers, and so on, depending on the situation and requirement.
Given the serious nature of the situations in which these drones are employed, as well as the pressing need for quick and effective deployment, some municipal rules may be loosened, allowing law enforcement, firefighters, and other first responders to use them without obtaining specific permits. Always check and comply with your local regulations regarding drone use.
With this in mind, when a need for drone help emerges, an agency or organization can deploy the drone from a designated drone location (often the roof of a police or fire station) or wherever they are needed. Drones can reach destinations faster than ground crews and can be deployed faster than crewed aerial aid.
In extreme situations, the time saved by deploying the drone can be the difference between life and death. Not only does this include preserving the life of a person being rescued, but can also mean ensuring the well-being of public safety personnel. Public safety personnel can work smarter, safer, and more efficiently with drones.
The need to use drones in public safety has never been greater. Drones are vital in enhancing public safety, whether they are used to gather data and information so experts can make informed decisions or used to conduct operations that directly save lives and property.
While plenty of drone models can be used for public safety operations, choosing the right drone can still be challenging. The ability to select the right drone for the mission is critical in ensuring that your team is in the best position to save lives and safeguard property.
In this blog post, our team at DSLRPros talks about some of the use cases for drones in public safety operations. In addition, we also walk you through some of the best public safety drones available in the market today.
How Do Drones Benefit Public Safety Agencies?
Drones provide crucial benefits that make them powerful assets for many different kinds of public safety operations:
Drones such as the Brinc LEMUR S provide an aerial vantage point for law enforcement to scout their area of operations, breach structures, conduct indoor searches, and even negotiate with suspects while keeping personnel out of harm. They can be used to follow, monitor and aid in the apprehension of suspect individuals before they can cause further harm to the community. In addition, drones can be used to take high-resolution, overhead photos of an accident or crime scene, and even breach windows to gain further situational awareness.
Quickly assessing and mapping out the situation on the ground is crucial for effective disaster response. First responders can use drones to survey areas that may have been rendered inaccessible or otherwise isolated due to destroyed infrastructure such as roads and bridges. They can then communicate with rescue teams and conduct search and rescue.
Search and Rescue:
Every second counts in search and rescue activities - the likelihood of injury or death increases as time goes on. Drones can be an effective alternative to manned aircraft and allow rescuers to cover more ground in less time, including areas that would be otherwise inaccessible to those conducting searches on foot. Drones with sufficient IP-ratings can also conduct searches in less-than-ideal weather conditions. Ground teams benefit significantly from the overhead aerial perspective that drones provide. In addition, the use of high-resolution drone-mounted thermal cameras means rescue missions can continue through the night - an invaluable asset, especially when lives are on the line.
Firefighting & Hazardous Materials:
Drones are becoming indispensable tools in combating fires, from thermal cameras that can check for hot spots or if the fire is contained to giving firemen and hazmat teams a bird's eye perspective in disaster-stricken areas. UAVs or drones can be used to inspect dangerous and difficult-to-reach areas such as tall or abandoned buildings, and even map the impacted They can even tackle tiny fires with the correct payload.
DSLRPros' Picks for the Best Public Safety Drones of 2022
1. DJI Matrice 30
DJI's flagship backpack drone, the Matrice 30, was recently unveiled. This brand-new drone series provides public safety agencies with a slew of new, robust features to help them run their operations more efficiently.
For starters, the DJI M30 allows public safety personnel to fly and conduct tasks outside of their immediate location. Public safety operations will benefit from integration with DJI FlightHub 2 fleet management software and the DJI Dock for remote and unsupervised operations.
The M30 series has two variants: M30 and M30T. Featuring a 48MP 1/2" CMOS zoom camera, the M30 allows operators to zoom 5x-16x optically and 200x digitally. Additionally, the M30 sports 8K photo 4K/30fps video resolution, as well as a laser rangefinder that can provide exact position information of objects up to 1,200 meters away. The M30T packs all of the features of the M30, but with the addition of a 640x512 radiometric thermal camera - a crucial asset for conducting public safety operations in low-light conditions.
The M30 can survive severe rain and temperatures as low as -20°C and as high as 50°C thanks to its IP55 ingress protection. Being able to work constantly even in severe weather is crucial in search and rescue operations, since it increases the chances of a successful rescue.
A new low-light first-person pilot camera, built-in redundancy and backup processes, a three-propeller emergency landing system, a Health Management System, and six-way collision avoidance sensors are also included to maximize the Matrice 30’s flight safety and operational life.
The DJI M30 is foldable, lightweight (3.7 kg take-off weight), and highly portable, which sets it apart from many other commercial drones. A 41-minute flight time is possible with the new self-heating TB30 battery. Its clever BS30 charging case takes roughly thirty minutes to charge the battery from 20% to 90%. The M30 also has a self-locking system and can be folded with a single button, making it the quickest and easiest UAS in the DJI Enterprise drone line to set up.
DJI Dock, an autonomous takeoff, landing, and charging station for the DJI M30 Series, is also integrated with the DJI Matrice 30. (Dock Version). It expands the scope of remotely controlled automated missions. This solution enables a fully charged M30 drone to fly autonomously from the DJI Dock to anywhere within a 7-kilometer radius after being set up.
The DJI Dock’s modular, durable, and low-maintenance design features an IP67 rating to weather the elements, making it waterproof and dustproof even when open. In addition, the DJI Dock’s interior is climate-controlled to safely charge M30 batteries in temperatures ranging from -35 to 50 degrees Celsius. Fast operational rotation is also made possible by the DJI Dock. Once the Matrice 30 lands, it will automatically recharge. The fast charging and battery cooling system allows the drone to take off 25 minutes after landing - allowing for continuous public safety operations.
These are only some of the features that make the Matrice 30 one of the best investments you can make for your public safety organization.
2. DJI Matrice 300 RTK
The DJI Matrice 300 RTK is a powerhouse of drone technology that's perfect for public safety applications.
The M300 offers 55 minutes of flight time, intelligent tracking, and dual controller features, allowing pilots to concentrate on their missions without worrying about operating the drone. This is one tough drone, designed to fly in the most challenging conditions. The aircraft is capable of speeds up to 51 miles per hour and has wind resistance of 49 feet per second. In addition to its operating temperature range of -4 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, the M300 provides self-heating batteries and a weather sealing rating of IP45, which means it can endure rain and dust during flight.
Ultimately, this drone can help you save lives by making your operations more efficient and cost-effective.
With plug and play functionality, up to three payloads can be mounted at once, allowing operators to stay flexible at all times.
This will save you time and prevent you from having to bring multiple systems.
The DJI Zenmuse H20 & H20T are two of the most capable and versatile payloads available for the M300 RTK. Three cameras are included with the H20T: a 20MP Zoom (200x max. zoom & video in 4K), a 12MP Wide lens, and a thermal camera with 640x512 resolution. Thermal imaging is a crucial tool for nighttime operations, as it is able to read the heat signatures of missing or hiding persons, and its visibility is not limited by smoke or low ambient light, as traditional night vision is.
All three views of the H20T payload can be recorded simultaneously for review after the mission is complete.
It supports triple-channel 3 1080p video transmission up to 15 kilometers. AES-256 encryption provides secure data transmission, while automatic switching between 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz4 ensures more reliable flight in environments with high interference. With the M300, you'll be able to fly safely in challenging situations thanks to a variety of features. In addition to an anti-collision beacon, sensors are used to detect obstacles from 98 feet away, and an ADS-B receiver will inform the drone pilot if manned aircraft are nearby.
Using dual operator mode, either operator can receive control of the aircraft or payload with just a single click. In turn, this creates more options for mission strategies and more flexibility during operations.
Through the Pinpoint feature, pilots can quickly mark an object on the map or in camera view by simply tapping on it, and advanced sensor fusion algorithms will calculate its coordinates that will be displayed with a virtual AR icon on all camera views. Track moving objects such as people, vehicles, and boats using the Smart Track feature, which includes auto-zoom for a steady view and tracking. Through their remote controller, another pilot can automatically be alerted to the subject's location.
For public safety agencies looking to add drone-based mapping capabilities to their fleet, the RTK (Real-Time Kinematic) system allows the DJI M300 RTK to map areas with high accuracy for precise data collection. This is ideal for creating detailed 2D and 3D maps of crime scenes or traffic accidents.
The DSLRPros Matrice 300 RTK Ultimate Police Drone package comes with everything you need to start public safety operations right away. It includes the DJI Matrice 300 RTK drone, the H20 optical camera, the FLIR Vue TZ20 thermal payload, and other accessories.
This complete drone package selection from DSLRPros is a premier choice for police work, firefighting, general public safety, and first responder use cases.
In addition, for a limited time only, each purchase of the DJI Matrice 300 RTK from DSLRPros includes one day of free in-person training at your location.
3. DJI Mavic 3T
The DJI Mavic 3T is the latest in a long line of compact, foldable DJI drones geared towards the enterprise market. The 3T builds upon the success of the Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced as a small yet powerful drone perfect for public safety applications. The Mavic 3T has a maximum flight time of up to 45 minutes, which is an incredible accomplishment in a drone of this size. The drone features an advanced omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system that helps keep it safe while in flight.
The DJI Mavic 3T comes with dual visual and thermal cameras, allowing public safety agencies to perform search and rescue missions day or night. The visual sensor boasts a zoom camera with 48 MP sensor for detailed views of subjects from greater distance, while the thermal imaging provides 640 x 512 px radiometric data.
The Mavic 3T has an integrated high visibility safety beacon, and an accesory port which allows for the connection of an optional RTK module.
In the Mavic 3T, DJI has taken their already impressive transmission range and made it even better with the O3 Enterprise transmission system. With a maximum control distance of 15 km (9 miles), pilots can fly with more confidence that their connection to the drone is strong. What's more, the transmission allows for 1080p 30fps high frame rate live broadcasting capabilities.
The DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise drones are designed with flight safety in mind. Both models include wide-angle vision sensors on all sides, which eliminate blindspots when flying. The sophisticated pilot assistance system enables full omnidirectional obstacle avoidance. Furthermore, the adjustable braking distances and proximity warnings add an extra level of safety and peace of mind.
With DJI's Advanced Piloting Assistance System (APAS 5.0), your drone can automatically detect obstacles in its path and reroute accordingly.
It saves battery power, time, and effort by finding the most efficient route back to you or your most recent takeoff position automatically through the advanced Return To Home (RTH) function.
When the Return To Home feature is enabled, your drone does not have to climb to a predetermined height to find its way back to you. Taking this precaution makes for a much safer flight and more peace of mind, since the drone be at risk of hitting obstacles during an automatic ascent.
As a leader in drone technology, DJI is able to consistently provide the highest level of data protection in virtually any situation, and this is particularly important when it comes to businesses and highly specialized government operations. DJI lets users control all data collected by its drones as they see fit.
Using the Mavic 3 Enterprise series, you have the option to switch to local data mode, which will prevent any data from being transmitted over the internet.
Additionally, drone users can remove all the data they've collected with just a tap. And if you decide to stop using DJI services entirely, there's a process for you to do so.
Furthermore, the Mavic 3 Enterprise drones transmit data between the drone and the remote controller using AES-256 bit encryption.
4. Autel Evo II 640T
Featuring a flight time of up to 40 minutes and capable of flying at speeds over 40 mph, the Autel Evo II 640T is a powerful yet compact drone solution that excels in public safety operations.
The EVO II 640T has one of the most impressive thermal capabilities available for UAVs of this size. Its excellent resolution of 640 X 512 allows for more detail to be seen from a greater distance compared to similar-sized payloads. Teams engaged in public safety operations have a significant advantage with thermal imaging capability. They can use thermal imaging even during nighttime to swiftly scout areas and subjects of interest and then zoom in on their location.
Thermal imaging alone makes the EVO II 640T a vital asset for public safety operations, but Autel goes even further by incorporating an incredible visual spectrum imaging technology.
The EVO II 640T uses a 1/2 inch 8K Ultra HD sensor to produce high-quality images with up to 4X lossless zoom!
The DSLRPros EVO II 640T Security And Surveillance Package puts additional accessories and features designed to benefit public safety organizations.
A one-year license for the Pix4DReact software is also included in this package.This user-friendly software enables emergency response teams to create 2D maps of a given area quickly and efficiently. These digital maps can then be annotated and shared with team members, ensuring that everyone has the information they require to complete their assignments.
With real-time information about a location, security and surveillance operations can be more precise and effective than before.
5. Brinc LEMUR S
Among the possible options for police drones, the Brinc Lemur S has emerged as an ideal drone of choice for law enforcement agencies across the US.
This public safety drone has an impressive flight time of up to 31 minutes and can fly at speeds up to 50mph (80.5km/h) - making it a great fit for fast-paced public safety operations.
While the 31 minute flight time is already impressive in and of itself, the Brinc Lemur S also features a perch time of up to 10 hours. This staying power ensures that the Lemur S can provide your team with the actionable intel it needs through dangerous situations.
The Lemur S also comes with several built-in features tailored for law enforcement. When your team needs to enter a structure or a vehicle, the Brinc Lemur S can use its Glass Breaker to initiate breach and entry - making this drone a reliable point man for your team. Once inside the structure, this drone's LiDAR-based obstacle avoidance system ensures that it can safely and efficiently navigate even through cramped indoor environments. Should the Brinc Lemur S end up on its back for whatever reason, its Turtle Mode will allow it to correct its orientation and resume its flight quickly.
Each purchase of a Brinc LEMUR S through DSLRPros includes one-day free in-person training at your location!
DSLRPros' Brinc Lemur S Tactical Operations Package includes:
- Two Brinc Lemur S drones.
- Two remote controllers.
- Six batteries.
- A high-powered light.
- The Glass Breaker breaching tool.
This comprehensive package from DSLRPros has everything your law enforcement organization needs to conduct public safety operations right on day one.
6. Parrot ANAFI USA
The Parrot ANAFI USA drone is the ideal drone for public safety missions. It can be quickly deployed in emergency situations due to its portability and tiny size, and its high-resolution camera captures clear photographs of any event. A powerful thermal imaging camera on the ANAFI can find heat sources in locations that are challenging to access. It is therefore a perfect tool for use in search and rescue missions, firefighting, and other emergency scenarios.
The ANAFI's cost is one of the features that public safety organizations find most appealing. The ANAFI is a particularly smart investment for rescue missions because it has a lower price point than many of the other drones on this list. It could be viewed as a consumable with a quick amortization of loss. This makes ANAFIs a far more cost-effective option because agencies could buy numerous units for the price of one drone from another manufacturer. This is especially relevant in difficult circumstances where the drone could crash or sustain damage.
In addition to being more affordable than other drones in its class, the ANAFI also performs better. The ANAFI is a dual imaging drone, like some ofther models on this list, with a visual camera and a thermal sensor.
With its excellent specifications, each camera system has a lot to offer individuals involved in public safety.
With a 32x zoom, the twin optical 4k camera system is amazing. This enables the ANAFI to capture precise, up-close photos of distant things. Even in challenging lighting circumstances, the photos are solid and crisp thanks to the 3-axis hybrid stabilization mechanism.
Automatic focus transitions between wide-angle (1x to 5x) and telephoto (5x to 32x) cameras ensure continuous zoom. This makes it simple to keep on target while still being able to record amazing details.
Parrot claims to be able to read a license plate at a distance of 130 meters, which is an astounding accomplishment.
The drone can zoom five times in 4K-UHD (3840x2160 pixels), ten times in Full HD (1920x1080 pixels), and fifteen times in HD with the ANAFI USA optical unit (1280x720 pixels). Additionally, ANAFI USA can still provide 27x zoom in DVD quality (720x480 pixels).
Because of this, the ANAFI is a fantastic option for public safety applications that demand high-quality photos and videos. Furthermore, the ANAFI's FLIR Boson 320 60 hz thermal imaging camera has the ability to detect heat sources in inaccessible places. For search and rescue missions, battling fires, and other emergency circumstances, this is an invaluable tool.
One thing a public safety drone can't be is fragile. With this tough drone, that is not an issue. The polyamid-based ANAI USA is streamlined with hollow glass beads and carbon fiber reinforcement. The covers have lateral vents that protect the motors from sand, rain, and dust. This keeps the drone operable in challenging circumstances, whether dry or wet.
The fact that the ANAFI USA is built in the USA and complies with the NDAA is a significant aspect that distinguishes it from other products on our list. deThe Government edition has earned Blue sUAS designation. This makes it a great option for applications in public safety that need a high level of security, with top level security features like SD-Card AES-XTS encryption with a 512 bit key. This guarantees data security even if the drone ends up in the wrong hands.
The ANAF USA also has a "Zero data shared by default"policy. This means that a gencies can be confident that their data is protected.
These reasons and more are why ANAFI is the drone of choice for public safety organizations all around the world.
The Most Important Tool
Of all the drones on this list, the most important piece of a successful drone program isn't hardware. It's proper training. The best equipment in the world has no value in the hands of someone who doesn't know how to use it. Especially in the life and death situations many public safety agencies face.
If your department is just getting started with drones, it may be helpful to look into public safety drone training programs. Not only does proper training allow for the most efficient and safe use of the drones, it also is one of the best ways to protect a costly investment. Without training on these highly specialized pieces of equipment by an expert pilot with years of experience in public safety scenarios, it's nearly impossible to leverage the full potential of these incredible tools.
For that reason, DSLRPros organized a major training event on public safety drones in Los Angeles County during the summer of 2021. Local public safety agencies learned how to use drone technology in different emergency scenarios by getting hands-on experience.
Drones were used to examine Haz-Mat spills, and participants also discussed ways to integrate drones into the emergency response to car accidents and to help search for missing persons in large areas using drones.
It was a valuable training event as participants learned how to maximize drone technology in emergency or life-threatening situations.
DSLRPros believes strongly in the value of proper training. This is why many of our products include a free day of in-person training at your location. There is no better way to familiarize yourself with your new tools than with hands-on training using your exact equipment at your location.
Choosing a suitable public safety drone means your organization can improve its response time to emergencies, increase situational awareness, and ultimately save more lives. As time passes and drone technologies continue to evolve and improve, these powerful, feature-rich aircraft will only become more and more critical for public safety operations. Public safety organizations can only benefit from drones as the nature of public safety operations changes with the times. The drones we've listed above are among the best your organization can buy today for law enforcement, search and rescue, and other public safety operations.
Public Safety Drones at DSLRPros
DSLRPros offers public safety drones for sale to law enforcement agencies across the United States. We offer a variety of drones that come with different capabilities, depending on your needs.
We also have custom-built drone bundles for public safety operations. These bundles include everything you need to get started - from the drone itself to helping you choose the right imaging payload and accessories.
Our team is proud that we've been putting drones in the hands of public safety organizations for many years.
We'll provide your organization the guidance you need to conduct drone operations effectively, as well as build your drone program from scratch.
For more information about our public safety drone packages, don't hesitate to contact DSLRPros today!