In the past year, many police stations around the country have adopted drones to assist with public safety. Oxford’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Director Jimmy Allgood hopes police can use drones’ impressive capabilities to see beyond the normal eye and keep more citizens safe. He hopes to soon implement drone use within the Oxford Police Department.
“They’re great for public safety because you can monitor crowds, you can monitor traffic, search and rescue those types of items, but if misused, then you get into an invasion of privacy issue,” said Allgood.
Allgood says professional drone use, if regulated, can be a innovative and life saving form of policing. Ji Hoon Heo, an Ole Miss journalism professor and one of the university’s certified drone pilots agrees.
“If you can save a life by putting out a metal flying thing in the sky and scouting before actually getting there, let’s say there’s supposed to be some explosive or car about to explode… you can put it up in the air and you can see before sending men out there,” Heo said.
Heo says law officers can use drones to potentially save lives and make policing more efficient.
“I think that’s valuable ’cause even if you save one life, I think it’s definitely worth it,” Heo said.
A report from the Center for the Study of the Drone (or CSD) at Bard College identified nearly 350 police, sheriff, fire and other public safety agencies in 43 states that have recently acquired drones.
Oxford public safety officials are currently in the research phase and are looking to use the experience of other cities to determine appropriate drone use.
Story contributed by Kelly Loggins and Jessica Moore.