Surprise Police Department May Use Drones To Help Enforce Law

One Phoenix-area police department is contacting locals in order to decide if it should purchase drones to assist in enforcing the law.

According to Surprise Police Department’s Sgt. Tim Klarkowski, the drones could be used by officers to do everything from monitoring traffic collisions to search and rescue missions. 

Klarkowski said the drones, technically referred to as unmanned aerial systems, would be more complex than those available to the general public, with up to eight propellers on a multi-motor device. 

The drones’ photo and video capabilities could provide offers with an opportunity to watch a live feed. The drones would also be remote-operated, so they would be quiet but only have a flight time of up to 40 minutes.

“We can utilize the UAS to search an area relatively quickly and utilize something like the forward-looking infrared to try and locate where that individual may have gone off to,” Klarkowski said. 

The estimated cost to start the program was $65,000, with the money to be taken from the department’s asset forfeiture account. 

Surprise residents have until Feb. 6 to submit their comments.