The newest video on Daniel Saulmon’s YouTube page is a preview of the near future, aptly titled “Flying Robots Filming Officers.”
At a DUI checkpoint in Gardenia, California, Saulmon recently engaged in law enforcement monitoring using his DJI Phantom 2. Commonly known as a drone, the DJI Phantom is an unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, that flies with little or no pilot input. Saulmon, who has flown his Phantom over “several local departments and one checkpoint so far,” posted the video of his night video recoding a DUI checkpoint using his UAV.
Considering it didn’t land him in jail as his cop watching has done so many times in the past, he just may be onto to something.
While the Gardenia police didn’t say a word about the UAV, which looks like a miniature helicopter armed with a camera, one officer at the checkpoint repeatedly pointed his flashlight at the Phantom in an attempt to blind its lens. Of course, police should have no problems with UAV photography, as it was recently declared legal, and police departments across the country are also planning on doing their own UAV photography.
Among the law enforcement groups planning to use UAVs, the Los Angeles Police Department recently purchased two UAVs to use during “manhunts, standoffs and other tactical events,” while the Miami-Dade Police Department reached a deal to buy UAVs four years ago.
Just as the future of law enforcement seems to include UAV monitoring, the future of law enforcement monitoring seems likely to include UAVs as well.
The DJI Phantom 2 is available at BH Photo for $899.
For news tips on aerial photography and drones, contact Andrew Meyer, PINAC’s staff writer covering drone photography, the First Amendment, and more.