St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson does not like the word “drone,” but whatever you call them, he wants his city using them. Fox 2 St. Louis reports that Dotson has asked the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to use drones to patrol the city’s high-crime areas and to chase fleeing vehicles. If he can get FAA authorization, Dotson only has to worry about two federal rules: Drones cannot be used for commercial purposes, and they have to fly below 400 feet. Any other rules governing their operation in in the city’s skies will come from internal police guidelines.
Dotson says the plan could save the city quite a bit of cash, too. A helicopter costs upward of $2 million. A surveillance drone can be had for less than $10,000.