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  • Writer's pictureChris Jones

Drones in Public Safety: Beyond the "New Toys" Effect

In the modern era, drones have rapidly gained traction across diverse industries, with public safety standing out as a prime beneficiary. These aerial devices promise to transform first responder operations, delivering unmatched aerial views crucial during emergencies. Yet, like all emerging technologies, drones come with the peril of the "new toys" syndrome—a heightened initial enthusiasm that might eclipse the tool's actual function and value.

Understanding the "New Toys" Phenomenon

Historically, the allure of new technologies has often led organizations astray. The late 1990s and early 2000s witnessed companies hastily jumping onto the online bandwagon without strategic foresight, culminating in the dot-com bubble. Another parallel can be drawn with the 2010s' 3D TVs. Initial demand skyrocketed, only to plummet as consumers grappled with scant 3D content and the discomfort of 3D glasses.

For public safety agencies, drones present a similar temptation. The prospect of an internal drone division might seem progressive. Yet, history teaches us that such fervor can cloud overarching objectives. As the drone's novelty fades, agencies might find themselves sinking resources into managing the drone infrastructure, diverting attention from the drone's primary purpose: enhancing intelligence and situational awareness.

Drones: Enhancing Operations, Not Replacing Them

Drones, despite their remarkable capabilities, should be perceived rightly—as tools complementing operations, not supplanting the seasoned expertise of first responders. They should synergize with, not replace, traditional methods and human judgment. It's concerning to see agencies becoming enamored with the drone's novelty, even to the point of restructuring entire divisions around it. A fitting analogy would be: if one wishes to travel globally, they wouldn't start by constructing their own airline.

The Wisdom in Outsourcing Drone Operations

Given the intricacies of initiating and sustaining an internal drone unit, agencies might find merit in an alternative: outsourcing. Here's why:

  • Expertise: External drone service entities bring specialized knowledge and experience, staying abreast of technological advancements and industry best practices.

  • Cost Efficiency: In-house drone operations entail hefty expenditures on equipment, training, and upkeep. Outsourcing emerges as a financially prudent alternative, offering top-tier services sans the associated costs.

  • Prioritizing Core Duties: Outsourcing ensures agencies remain focused on their primary duties, unburdened by the logistical challenges of drone management.

  • Regulatory Adherence: Professional drone operators are adept at navigating the intricate regulatory maze, ensuring compliance at all levels.

In Conclusion

While drones present a tantalizing prospect for public safety agencies, it's imperative to integrate them with discernment. Agencies must introspect whether establishing an internal drone operation aligns with their long-term vision or if outsourcing is the wiser strategy. Ultimately, the goal is public safety enhancement, and decisions should invariably reflect this core objective.

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