Michigan State Police Demonstrate Drone for Law Enforcement Use

Michigan State Police Chief Pilot Patrick Lawrence said, “It’s a new technology. It’s frightening to people, they may want to stay away from it.”

Michigan State Police is the country’s first law enforcement agency to begin using a “UAS,” or drone, statewide.

Today, they gave a demonstration in Lansing on how it works.

“Our policy says currently our device is used for law enforcement support,” Lawrence said. “So if it has a law enforcement nexus to it, whether it’s a criminal investigation going along with it, then yes.”

Daytime flight requires a two person crew at minimum, while nighttime requires three.

And the drone must be within eyesight.

Demonstration Pilot in Command Matt Rogers said, “The observer, their sole duty is to communicate with me, and then also keep eyes on that system at all times.”

Lawrence said, “It’s got a low battery automatic return. It’s got a lost link automatic return. It’s got all those safety features and all that stuff costs additional.”

The ACLU is pleased with the clear parameters in which state police can use the drones.

ACLU Field Director Rodd Monts said, “In fact we hope that other law enforcement policies will take MSP’s lead when it comes to developing policies of their own, because we believe theirs really does ensure responsible and constitutional use of unmanned aerial systems.”

And state police hope drones use develops overtime.

“The goals of getting into this is to see what it’s going to be good at doing because you don’t know the technology until you use it a little bit,” Lawrence said.