In an exchange between a State policeman, an exhibitor and me at a recent conference, both of them were stridently opposed to “arming” drones. When I asked if it was better than putting an officer in harm’s way, they said the PR repercussions by the public would be awful. PR vs. an officer’s safety? I could not believe my ears.
“Okay”, I said, and suggested this would be non-lethal…. Same reaction. Paintball gun to mark the perp? Same. Dropping smoke to obfuscate advancing police? Same. I was getting nowhere. Finally, how about dropping a stink bomb or balloons filled with nasty, drippy manure to simply break the perp’s spirit a tad? (and ‘mark’ him, I suppose) Surprisingly, same reaction. Firm opinions.
I think attitude will hold until perps simply realize that without such a threat, drones can do nothing except film them for short periods. So they can just shoot them down or wait till batteries die. What is worse is that officers might be harmed again and again when a 20 cent balloon or 5 cents worth of pellets would have changed the entire outcome.
At the recent InterDrone, the mood had shifted, all of us having just observed the attack on the Venezuelan President last month.