If all goes well, this year a remote-controlled portable airplane will be taking to the air over Southern California, providing a low-cost eye in the sky for law enforcement.
Chang Industry of La Verne, Calif., is one of dozens of companies working on portable unmanned aerial vehicles, or U.A.V.’s, that can be equipped with cameras to transmit live video feeds to law enforcement officers on the ground, miles away. While larger and more sophisticated unmanned aircraft have been in use by the military for several years, this new breed of U.A.V.’s is small enough to be transported in the trunk of a patrol car, for example, assembled and flown by officers near a developing crime scene.
Dr. Yu-Wen Chang, the company’s president, said that he expects to sell his Kite Plane, which has a wingspan of about 4 feet and weighs less than 5 pounds, for $5,000 apiece. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will be the first law enforcement agency to test the plane, probably in April, Dr. Chang said.
I just had to post on this since it kinda pisses me off. Us cop’s on that same department are using 1980’s era MDT’s (Mobile Digital Terminals) in our patrol car’s while every other department has these wazoo laptop computer’s. Some even have a digital fingerprint pad that you can use on a suspect out in the field to positively ID him/her. Added to this is the fact that we have been without a contract for 2 years, no pay raises in that time and you can see how this tick’s me off. No way in hell us patrol guys will see these things, the only people who will use them is our SEB teams (Our SWAT) . Meanwhile we have patrol cars with 100,000 miles on them, radio’s breaking all the time and so forth…..argh!
Do I think they are a good idea, yes. Many times when we have a suspect cornered we don’t have a airship available so these would be great for keeping track of where the suspect is. But like I eluded to earlier, no way no how us patrol guys will be seeing these things in the trunks of our patrol cars.
Ok, rant off. Gindy brings up a point, why can’t these things be used for surveillance of our borders? These would be perfect for it.