MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Some South Florida police officers got a crash course on operating unmanned aerial systems this week, aimed at making their jobs easier and more efficient, as well as saving the departments money.
Law enforcement from Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties attended the 40-hour course Monday at the Miami Police Training Center, one of the first police training facilities in Florida to offer the course. Officers and their instructors conducted different exercises, both ground and flight, with the drones.
Javier Cartagena, a beat cop for three years with Miami-Dade, thinks drones could make a big difference.
“This is more of a rapid deployment,” he said. “Impressive. The power that it can have and the ability.”
Four years ago, CBS4 watched as police launched what looked more like lawn mowers, flying 300 feet in the air, getting grainy shots from above, and never available for widespread use by street cops.
Now sleek and small, Lt. Orlando Villaverde said new policy is being drafted to govern when, where and how officers can use them, including the necessary Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification to fly things in the air. He thinks it could cut the cost of aerial surveillance down by the thousands.
“The cost is immensely down,” said Lt. Villaverde. “A helicopter cost is about $600 to $1,000 an hour, where you can operate these unmanned aerial systems for less than $25,” he said.