Proposed Dallas Police Department “DRONE” Program

DRONES are any unmanned aircraft or ship that is guided remotely.

The Dallas Police Department is proposing the use of drones to assist and improve public safety in Dallas. 

  1. One police helicopter costs from 1 million to $3 million to acquire
  2. Then they are equipped with law enforcement gear that could cost
  3. The operation cost to fly a helicopter is $400-$600 an hour.
  4. Manned aircraft are large, complex machines requiring expert ground crews, multiple shifts of pilots and co-pilots, a storage hanger, and require runways or helipads.
  5. Helicopter upkeep and maintenance is not cheap.
  6. One helicopters for a city the size of Dallas is not enough.

Some DRONE issues to consider:

  1. Firstly, the DRONES will be equipped with sophisticated high resolution CCTV
  2. It is an observation platform and not an offensive weapon… DRONE will not be equipped with weapons of any kind.
  3. Rapid assessment of natural or man-made disasters
  4. Search for missing persons or wanted persons
  5. Monitor motor vehicle crash scenes
  6. They are small and can be used in search and rescue operations in large hard to access areas
  7. Provide surveillance and monitor fleeing suspects
  8. Provide an aerial view of large crowded venues
  9. Provide real time footage on hostage situations
  10. Detect dangerous hot spots in fires
  11. They are unmanned unlike helicopter which can be targets
  12. No loss of lives if there is a malfunction
  13. They are cost effective in a time of shrinking resources
  14. Savings on personnel fatigue and overtime expenses
  15. Drone systems average about $30,000 fully equipped for police work and cost $20 an hour to run, don’t require large storage space, or helipads.
  16. Deployment would be for accidents, search and rescue, get aerial view for crowd and perimeter control, and to assist tactical squads.
  17. DRONES would only be used by trained and registered officers and be registered with the FAA.
  18. Downside—limited flight time and battery life.

Police agencies across the nation are increasingly using drones to improve public safety, but need clear operations policies and to win public trust.  To that end, a model policy on use of drones – or “small unmanned aircraft systems” – was rolled out by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.


  1. Protecting the civil rights of our community from government intrusion and search must be a priority when considering a DRONE program.
  2. The Dallas Police Department and the City of Dallas will effectively and clearly balance the legitimate and transparent interest of law enforcement with the need to protect privacy and civil liberties against excessive government intrusion.
  3. Illegal surveillance is protected by law, however, since 1967, activities exposed to the public are not protected under the 4th
  4. Open view doctrine states that public safety can use helicopters, CCTV, robots, body cameras and officers personal observations to protect the citizen they serve. DRONES ARE NO DIFFERENT.


  • Engaging the community
  • Policy development
  • Promote transparency
  • Invite media to training exercises


The Dallas Police Department is asking for you feedback on this issue.  They are requesting that citizens complete a short survey.  Any additional concerns will be appreciated.

The survey bdelow can completed and sent to Misty VanCuren.

You can personally send the completed survey to Misty.  Her email address is

You can mail the completed survey to Misty VanCuren  at
Misty VanCuren
Dallas Police Department
1400 South Lamar
Dallas TX 75216

Drone Survey

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