Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), also known as UAVs, is a rapidly emerging technology that has exceptional appeal to law enforcement. A UAS consists of an unmanned aircraft, an aircraft control station, and command and control links. UAS are considered as aircraft. These aircraft can often be flown autonomously and at great distances from the command station. In addition, these aircraft can be very small, under 25 lbs and still carry enough equipment to provide video downlink capabilities. The operation of a UAS by a public agency, whether it is Federal, State or Local Law Enforcement, is enforced by FAA regulations and Federal statutes.
With the increase in use of UAS by the military in overseas operations, there has been a significant increase in the number of vendors both producing and marketing these same units to law enforcement. Prior to purchasing or leasing a UAS please consider the following: For a public aircraft operation, the FAA holds the position that a Certificate of Authorization (COA) is required to operate UAS in the National Airspace.