Community Policing and Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Guidelines to Enhance Community Trust

Operating a small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) safely without violating privacy and other civil rights presents great challenges for law enforcement. This website is intended as a resource to help law enforcement agencies make an informed decision on whether to acquire sUAS, and if they do, how to develop policies and procedures that will help garner public support, avoid pitfalls, and build community trust.

This website is also intended to provide insight for the public on the advantages of sUAS for public safety and the many considerations that go into sUAS program implementation. The decision to implement a sUAS program is not a decision to be made lightly. When the decision is made with departmental transparency, meaningful collaboration, and community support, it has the potential to yield immense benefits for public safety.

National Public Safety sUAS Flight Operations & Incident Reporting System


The Police Foundation, with support from the National Institute of Justice, is working to develop a comprehensive online flight data and incident reporting system to better understand the use of sUAS in law enforcement, fire and rescue, and emergency response/disaster situations. Data collected will be used to develop “lessons learned” which will be made available to agencies with the ultimate goal of fostering the safe, effective, and lawful use of sUAS by public safety agencies.

Police Foundation sUAS Resources



Comprehensive guidance on all aspects of UAS use in public safety


5 Things

5 things to know about small-unmanned aircraft systems in law enforcement



Key considerations in sUAS and public safety in visual format

police drone_pic1

Research Brief

Findings of the sUAS & community policing focus groups

Tell us what you think!

We strive to ensure this website contains the most up to date and relevant information pertaining to the use of sUAS in law enforcement and welcome feedback on its usefulness and relevance.

We also strive to highlight best practices in the field related to the implementation of sUAS programs utilizing community policing principles. If you are interested in being part of our “Focus on the Field” examples let us know!