High-Tech Drones Joining Miami Police Force

Local 10
Nov. 30, 2007

MIAMI -- The Miami-Dade police department will begin experimenting with high-tech drones as law enforcement tools beginning next year.

Although the military has been using unmanned aircraft systems for years, this will be the first time they are used in law enforcement.

"We are aware it is a great responsibility. The FAA is looking at us to see if we can professionally manage this program," said Lt. Cliff Nelson of the police department's aviation unit.

The flying camera is called a Micro Air Vehicle made by Honeywell. The MAV is remote controlled, unarmed and unmanned and can soar over 10,000 feet.

Miami-Dade police said only licensed pilots with the aviation unit will operate the devices because the airspace in the county is so busy.

Only the Miami-Dade police department and the Houston police department were given permission by the FAA to experiment with the drones.

"The capability of the unit is phenomenal," said Miami-Dade Detective Juan Villalba.

The unmanned aircraft will be used during SWAT team and tactical operations, especially when officers need video of a heavily armed suspect.

The Miami-Dade police department has not yet taken possession on its drone, but the Houston police department has and is already conducting tests.

Miami-Dade hopes to use grant money to pay for the MAV. Officials said the units are pricey. Depending on the complexity of the system, they can cost several thousand dollars to more than a million.














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