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Recommendations for Sheriff's Office

Bryce steiner

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Mar 9, 2019
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Location
Antwerp, OH 45813
I’m helping out my local police department and Sheriff’s Office to find drones for use in their operations. Currently, they have no drone. I’ve been told as a member of LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee) that there are two drones available in 6 counties (2 of the counties own them but are shared with others) for emergencies. No one in the Sheriff’s office or Emergency Management Agency are FAA 107 Pilots. Since the agencies do not have this important tech in their arsenal, guess who gets called? Me. I’m not upset about it because I know them all quite well and am more than willing to serve, but I think they would do better to have their own. In the last week alone I been out for tornado damage and a body search in one of the rivers.

After having live service of a drone, which proved much better than the demonstration they were shown by a salesman (the drone took off and crashed into the brick jail! It was very embarrassing for the guy.), they are ready to look for a drone and training, and asked if I could help them.

Of course money is always a concern in small towns and the sparsely populated county.

Their purpose is like most others in the Law Enforcement arena - search & rescue, river searches, surveillance over large events, and possibly being able to send a drone up as a first responder to emergencies, Fire, and flooding. This county is very flat in Ohio. You can see for a great distance at 400’ in the air.

They would like to be able to:
  1. Program/Setup flights from a computer for immediate searches already programmed for places like the rivers.
  2. Pilot outdoors while sent to their portable command center with a large screen TV
I’m suggesting two drones to choose from - budget and high end.

Budget: Mavic 2 Enterprise Duel, case, Fly More + batteries, Care Refresh, several 128GB MicroSD Cards, iPad Mini 5, Apple 4k TV (for airplay during flight), 55” 4K TV, ASUS RT-AC68U router,
Budget 2: Mavic 2 Enterprise - the camera can zoom and would be helpful for searches.

Best: Matrice 210 v2, Zenmuse Z30, 55” 4K TV, ASUS RT-AC68U router,

The budget system is great because it has the thermal Camera built in which is great for searches, spotlight and the speaker. Unfortunately the camera doesn’t zoom and it’s only 12MP.

I also think the DJI Flight Hub software is included and can program the flights in a computer. The Mavic 2 folds up and stores so small that it can easily be kept in a cruiser, even the charging station can be mounted with 4 batteries, then quickly deployed to an area. You can easily get both "budget" drones for much less and get good features and gives a backup.

The high end system will cost upwards of $40,000 and there are several advantages, but I’m not sure it’s worth it: water resistance for less than ideal conditions, 30x zoom lens - it looks really good, The drone also has the ability to change out the camera and have multiple cameras. The liability here is it’s size. It pretty much requires two people to unload and setup to fly.

This is my initial thoughts that I know works.

Can the feed from Airplay - or another be recorded to be able to look back later? I don’t think the iPad Mini 5 can record and Airplay at the same time.
The processor in the Mini is very good and now the screen has some kind of anti-glare coating. It’s also 10% brighter than the 4.
I know the goggles can also connect to the TV but I don’t think the signal is that great for much distance.

Is there a better option for sending the video signal to the TV and recording?

I want to know your thoughts and recommendations on these?
 
Good evening Bryce. That's a LOT in a single post. I have lots of ideas and suggestions for you. Would you be up for a phone call sometime in the next day or two?
 
Good evening Bryce. That's a LOT in a single post. I have lots of ideas and suggestions for you. Would you be up for a phone call sometime in the next day or two?
That would be great! Do you have my number in my profile or do you want me to PM you?

I know that right now there are a lot of agencies that are completely uninformed of how useful they are. Once they understand them better for their use, they will also understand people using them for commercial and hobby use--better for everyone.
 
That would be great! Do you have my number in my profile or do you want me to PM you?

I know that right now there are a lot of agencies that are completely uninformed of how useful they are. Once they understand them better for their use, they will also understand people using them for commercial and hobby use--better for everyone.
I'll PM you my # after this post.

Yes many agencies don't know their potential but also know that many are "hindered" by local and state laws governing "Survelance" and how data collected from a sUAS can (and can NOT) be used. The last thing you want to do is ruin a case by providing important evidence that can't not be used in court.

Also it's important to know exactly what each department really "Needs" in the terms of a sUAS compared to what they "Want".
 
I’m helping out my local police department and Sheriff’s Office to find drones for use in their operations. Currently, they have no drone. I’ve been told as a member of LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee) that there are two drones available in 6 counties (2 of the counties own them but are shared with others) for emergencies. No one in the Sheriff’s office or Emergency Management Agency are FAA 107 Pilots. Since the agencies do not have this important tech in their arsenal, guess who gets called? Me. I’m not upset about it because I know them all quite well and am more than willing to serve, but I think they would do better to have their own. In the last week alone I been out for tornado damage and a body search in one of the rivers.

After having live service of a drone, which proved much better than the demonstration they were shown by a salesman (the drone took off and crashed into the brick jail! It was very embarrassing for the guy.), they are ready to look for a drone and training, and asked if I could help them.

Of course money is always a concern in small towns and the sparsely populated county.

Their purpose is like most others in the Law Enforcement arena - search & rescue, river searches, surveillance over large events, and possibly being able to send a drone up as a first responder to emergencies, Fire, and flooding. This county is very flat in Ohio. You can see for a great distance at 400’ in the air.

They would like to be able to:
  1. Program/Setup flights from a computer for immediate searches already programmed for places like the rivers.
  2. Pilot outdoors while sent to their portable command center with a large screen TV
I’m suggesting two drones to choose from - budget and high end.

Budget: Mavic 2 Enterprise Duel, case, Fly More + batteries, Care Refresh, several 128GB MicroSD Cards, iPad Mini 5, Apple 4k TV (for airplay during flight), 55” 4K TV, ASUS RT-AC68U router,
Budget 2: Mavic 2 Enterprise - the camera can zoom and would be helpful for searches.

Best: Matrice 210 v2, Zenmuse Z30, 55” 4K TV, ASUS RT-AC68U router,

The budget system is great because it has the thermal Camera built in which is great for searches, spotlight and the speaker. Unfortunately the camera doesn’t zoom and it’s only 12MP.

I also think the DJI Flight Hub software is included and can program the flights in a computer. The Mavic 2 folds up and stores so small that it can easily be kept in a cruiser, even the charging station can be mounted with 4 batteries, then quickly deployed to an area. You can easily get both "budget" drones for much less and get good features and gives a backup.

The high end system will cost upwards of $40,000 and there are several advantages, but I’m not sure it’s worth it: water resistance for less than ideal conditions, 30x zoom lens - it looks really good, The drone also has the ability to change out the camera and have multiple cameras. The liability here is it’s size. It pretty much requires two people to unload and setup to fly.

This is my initial thoughts that I know works.

Can the feed from Airplay - or another be recorded to be able to look back later? I don’t think the iPad Mini 5 can record and Airplay at the same time.
The processor in the Mini is very good and now the screen has some kind of anti-glare coating. It’s also 10% brighter than the 4.
I know the goggles can also connect to the TV but I don’t think the signal is that great for much distance.

Is there a better option for sending the video signal to the TV and recording?

I want to know your thoughts and recommendations on these?

The M210 with that configuration should be much less than $40k - probably closer to $25k. And you will likely want the XT2 more than the Z30. It's perfectly flyable with just one operator. Also bear in mind that the kind of operation you are considering will almost certainly require an SGI waiver - easy enough to do but requires someone who understands how it works.

@BigAl07 is certainly a great source of advice on all those issues.
 
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Thank you @sar104 and you're a great resource as well.

@Bryce steiner @sar104 and I collaborate often on these very topics. We're both heavily immersed in it day in and day out on more than a hobby level.
 
I have seen UAS programs implemented in several govt. agencies and there are many considerations beyond the initial equipment buy. Redundancy, readiness, maintenance, security, procedures, and probably the most important and expensive piece: pilot training, certification, and proficiency. If only it were as simple as buying a Mavic and having at it. I wonder if a contract arrangement with a local provider might be a useful vehicle especially for small police forces that don't have the budget or resources to stand up a full program.
 
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For search and rescue I was ready to buy the Mavic 2 Pro Enterprise Duel but I'm reconsidering now. This is what I've come up with. I see Parrot Anafi Thermal might be valid for this.

Parrot over DJI
3 batteries & multi charger 1/3 of the weight
Higher wind rating
21MP vs 12MP
3x Zoom while flying so you don't have to get as close and possibly lose remote connection, or to zoom in on area of interest.

DJI over Parrot Flight time per battery: 31 vs 26 minutes (does that really mean 25 vs 20? Who ever has gotten actual flight minutes?)
Rated Flight distance from remote: 5 vs 2.5 miles (Can you really get 2.5 miles)
Speed 45mph vs 25mph? For SAR not sure if this matters.

Toss up:
Thermal Camera - same
Potentially better build on DJI for better crash durability but weight negates that with the extra momentum on crash...
Sensors - some people want/need sensor but others can't stand them.

I want to see an actual tracking through the vegetation and foliage of a person.

I am also coming from DJI software. I don't know how it compares to Parrot's. Is it better for certain things? Is there waypoints features? Does the Litchi work with either or both?

Does third party hardware work with it such as the iPad?

Those are my thoughts and questions.
 
I have seen UAS programs implemented in several govt. agencies and there are many considerations beyond the initial equipment buy. Redundancy, readiness, maintenance, security, procedures, and probably the most important and expensive piece: pilot training, certification, and proficiency. If only it were as simple as buying a Mavic and having at it. I wonder if a contract arrangement with a local provider might be a useful vehicle especially for small police forces that don't have the budget or resources to stand up a full program.


You're exactly right. The solution you proposed is a good and common one especially for smaller markets or agencies with tight or "Not Forward Thinking" boards. In fact, that's exactly how many of us got started in Emergency Services to begin with.

The problem with being a Service Provider to Law Enforcement (which is slightly more difficult than for say a Fire Dept) is dealing with Constitutional Law, Privacy Concerns, and Chain-of-Custody for data collected. Those can be HUGE hurdles that if not addressed can bring down a company and result in a large court case "being thrown out". The LAST thing we want to do is be the reason some criminal gets released back into the population to do more harm to someone.

It's a lot easier to work with the Fire Dept and local Search-And-Rescue as a Service Provider than it is to work with LEA and being a part of a criminal investigation/Arrest situation. Speaking from FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE on that one.
 
You're exactly right. The solution you proposed is a good and common one especially for smaller markets or agencies with tight or "Not Forward Thinking" boards. In fact, that's exactly how many of us got started in Emergency Services to begin with.

The problem with being a Service Provider to Law Enforcement (which is slightly more difficult than for say a Fire Dept) is dealing with Constitutional Law, Privacy Concerns, and Chain-of-Custody for data collected. Those can be HUGE hurdles that if not addressed can bring down a company and result in a large court case "being thrown out". The LAST thing we want to do is be the reason some criminal gets released back into the population to do more harm to someone.

It's a lot easier to work with the Fire Dept and local Search-And-Rescue as a Service Provider than it is to work with LEA and being a part of a criminal investigation/Arrest situation. Speaking from FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE on that one.

This is exactly what I've been telling my local LE (Sheriff and PD). They thought they could just go in and start flying and I told them that's not how it works. Even if they got all the evidence needed succesfully and the case was won with a local judge seeing all the evidence, I can't imagine that a decent attorney wouldn't get the evidence thrown out just because of some minor inconvenience certification in an appeal.

It's one thing for me to go beyond VLOS when I'm just practicing or in my field but when dealing with gathering evidence for courts and LE you need to have your ducks in a row, especially with technology.
 
And for law enforcement or SAR you really need to be able to go beyond VLOS. Speaking of the VLOS rule, that is yet another one that really makes no sense. The whole point of GPS and FPV capability is to be able go beyond VLOS. And I just don't see this as a safety issue. Anyone who has flown FPV can tell you that it is easier to fly that way safely and accurately when the aircraft is at the extremes of VLOS and certainly when beyond. And failure of the video link does not result in a crash or unsafe situation at least in aircraft with GPS and failsafes. In fact a crash is far more likely no matter within or beyond VLOS due to other failures like broken props, burned out motors, fried motor controller or main board, etc. that have NO backup or failsafe. So to me the whole VLOS thing and requirement for a spotter for FPV is pretty silly. I know, it is a rule. And a rule is a rule. But it really makes no sense.
 
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And for law enforcement or SAR you really need to be able to go beyond VLOS. Speaking of the VLOS rule, that is yet another one that really makes no sense. The whole point of GPS and FPV capability is to be able go beyond VLOS. And I just don't see this as a safety issue. Anyone who has flown FPV can tell you that it is easier to fly that way safely and accurately when the aircraft is at the extremes of VLOS and certainly when beyond. And failure of the video link does not result in a crash or unsafe situation at least in aircraft with GPS and failsafes. In fact a crash is far more likely no matter within or beyond VLOS due to other failures like broken props, burned out motors, fried motor controller or main board, etc. that have NO backup or failsafe. So to me the whole VLOS thing and requirement for a spotter for FPV is pretty silly. I know, it is a rule. And a rule is a rule. But it really makes no sense.

BVLOS takes away your ability to see the airspace surrounding the drone - you only have forward vision. That's the issue, not other hazards or crash scenarios. And for SAR/LE emergency operations you can get around that with a BVLOS waiver via the SGI process that comes with an associated TFR to keep other aircraft out of the area.
 
Good point, but being below 400' aren't we already out of the airspace?

BVLOS takes away your ability to see the airspace surrounding the drone - you only have forward vision. That's the issue, not other hazards or crash scenarios. And for SAR/LE emergency operations you can get around that with a BVLOS waiver via the SGI process that comes with an associated TFR to keep other aircraft out of the area.
 
for SAR/LE emergency operations you can get around that with a BVLOS waiver via the SGI process that comes with an associated TFR to keep other aircraft out of the area.

Would you mind expanding on this a little bit? Does the BVLOS waiver automatically come with SGI approval or does that have to be specified in the SGI request?

Can other temporary waives be applied as well at that point? Like VO or flying over people?

How does a TFR effect manned aircraft associated with the operation?

Does the TFR keep media out of the sky in that given area?

Thanks
 
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Would you mind expanding on this a little bit? Does the BVLOS waiver automatically come with SGI approval or does that have to be specified in the SGI request?

Can other temporary waives be applied as well at that point? Like VO or flying over people?

How does a TFR effect manned aircraft associated with the operation?

Does the TFR keep media out of the sky in that given area?

Thanks

No BLVOS is something that has to be REQUESTED and APPROVED but yo do it with the initial SGI request.

Flying Over People (part of the incident) can be added as well. I'm not sure what else "Can" be but I would imagine just about anything "Could" be included but the more you add the more complex it becomes and the less likely it will get approved.

TFR affects all aircraft unless they are part of the operation and in direct coordination.

It "Might" keep media out (it should) but media is a whole other ball of wax and often times it's easier to accommodate them then to fight with them. I personally detest media being on scene.....
 
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No BLVOS is something that has to be REQUESTED and APPROVED but yo do it with the initial SGI request.

Flying Over People (part of the incident) can be added as well. I'm not sure what else "Can" be but I would imagine just about anything "Could" be included but the more you add the more complex it becomes and the less likely it will get approved.

TFR affects all aircraft unless they are part of the operation and in direct coordination.

It "Might" keep media out (it should) but media is a whole other ball of wax and often times it's easier to accommodate them then to fight with them. I personally detest media being on scene.....

The default TFR is usually 400 ft AGL unless you request higher, and any SAR Incident Command team can do that. If you have manned aircraft participating then you almost certainly will put in a much taller TFR, precisely to control who is flying. As the TFR controlling agency you can always authorize news helicopters into the TFR on your terms, and they are not going to misbehave unless the pilot is in the mood for an unpleasant interview with the FAA.
 

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