The city of Brookhaven in Georgia will soon be sending drones out on 911 calls, and they will also be used to conduct other investigations. A measure approving funding for the drone program was approved on Tuesday night, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Brookhaven Police Department will have four drones to send out on calls and investigations. The drones can also survey crime scenes and record evidence in real-time. Footage used by the drones could also be used in court, just as dash cameras and body cameras are.
Brookhaven is just the second city in the country to adopt this kind of program. The first was the Chula Vista Police Department in California, which began a drone program in 2018. In the two years that the drone program has been active in Chula Vista, local police say that it has led to 275 arrests and removed the need for human police on at least 650 calls.
Human officers will still be sent out on calls, especially those that are most sensitive, but drones will start to take over many of the day-to-day interactions that people have with police. Brookhaven police Lt. Abrem Ayana said that the drone program is “literally a game changer,” during a city meeting on Tuesday night.
The drones will be equipped with HD cameras that stream video back to the department’s crime center, and the cameras are also capable of using thermal imaging to more easily spot suspects at night. “It takes a lot of the hide-and-seek aspect out of hide-and-seek. We’re going to see a lot more suspects identified in crimes because a drone is going to get there first and provide information,” Ayana said.