Law Enforcement Agencies Exploring Drone Deployment to Investigate Reports of Gunfire


Drone technology and the cameras they carry with them are changing the world as we know it and some those changes resemble a dystopian hell from the most bleak science fiction you can imagine.

Enter today’s story, where a Kentucky group wants to use fleets of drones for various crime reduction activities in what surely is meant as a completely anodyne plan and not a terrifying vision of a Big Brother drone-filled sky.

Image via Thomas W. from

A plan submitted to the White House’s Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Integration Pilot Program from the city of Louisville by law enforcement agencies outlines a scheme to utilize fleets of drones to provide the department with “situational awareness” information in the event of shootings and other incidents involving gunfire. The White House program is looking into common airspace oversight between federal, state, and local authorities. The Louisville plan, if implemented, could be a major step towards updating legislation to accommodate drone use in this manner.

How this will work in practice is that the drones will use the city’s new “ShotSpotter” technology to hone in on gunfire. This technology uses microphones placed throughout the city of Louisville to detect the distinct audio signature caused by gunfire. This would deliver information such as GPS coordinates to authorities and coordinate visuals from the ground with the dispatch of the drones. It’s all very science fiction and action movie at this point, but the technology to make it all a reality is definitely there.

Privacy concerns as well as surveillance concerns loom large, though. What will the government do with the data it collects and what information are the “ShotSpotter” microphones capable of obtaining outside of gunshots? While it is nice to imagine this is the network’s sole purpose, more conspiracy oriented people and those capable of manipulating data systems would tell us otherwise.

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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