I'm a cop and need help making a drone, as well as some info

Hello all,

I am a Deputy Sheriff in TN and I want to make a drone I can use on duty, to search for people who run. I would like to use a small FLIR cam on it. Any advice?


I also hear alot about FAA this and FAA that, my question is why and how can FAA say anything at all?

When I was a kid I use to fly R/C model aircraft and FAA did say anything. Never heard anything, what's the diffrence??


                                  Thank You,

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones

Email me when people reply –


  • Will I can assist you in Tennessee if you need some help with this. I live just east of Nashville About 20 minutes.

  • Will,

      If you are still working on this PM me.  You will need to go through the COA process when you are ready.

    I would advise hobby activity for training yourself to fly.  Its fun and you will need the skills. The COA process is for first responders such as yourself.  The FA website has released many of the COA if you want to look at what others have done.

  • "Daniel DibONA"


  • (Man these comments are not helpful.  I apologize on everyone's behalf.  Haha!)

    Wussup Will. 

    Sorry if I treat you too much like a noob.  I saw in one of the previous comments you do have some experience.  I am a noob myself, but saw the comments and felt like commenting myself.  Haha.  Also, I am more familiar with multicopters than I am on airplanes.  Hopefully this helps. 

    Regardless of what level of experience you have, I would grab something that you can build and keep building off of that.  I recently got into rc and built myself a tricopter.  Been having a blast.  It is also much less expensive getting a ready-to-fly multicopter.  You probably should get a quad.  They are more common, more stable and do not need an extra servo like a tri.  I would look into different DIY frames that can be built from scratch or come packaged and need to assemble.  I learned a great amount building it myself.  You can also design your own camera mount. 

    If you do decide to DIY, you will also need to buy your own transmitter, batteries and balance/charger.  

    If you want to buy something that is ready-to-fly, that you can learn on and eventually slap a camera on later, DJI has the Phantom which is pretty popular.  It is a little high on the price range, but I have heard nothing but good reviews.  Comes ready to fly if I am not mistaken.  It also has a nice spot to mount a camera, primarily well suited for the GoPro Hero 3.  I am not sure what size your FLIR camera is, so you would have to look into that. 

    There are also much smaller ones that are good for training and orientation like the Nano QX

    As for the FAA, they are trying to put together a rule book of some sort for the commercial use of UAV's.  Its primary concerns are safety and licenses.  I agree with some of what they are doing, but I think the FAA has a bit too much authority on the issue.  Hopefully they do not prohibit the hobby and business of RC aircraft and UAV's.  

    Best of luck to you and your ventures.  Thanks for you service.  

  • Contact the Arlington, Texas Police Department, they are flying them legally for the same purpose you require.

    I'm not sure what they had to go through but that might help you get started.

    I'm sure each states laws are interpreted differently.

    As for the camera contact ICI Thermal Cameras in Beaumont TX, they can custom make you a camera less than a FLIR.

    ICI specialized in cameras for NASA.

    I had a 320 core with 40 degree view built by those guys for under $2,500.  Its about the size of a ping pong ball.

  • You have an interesting writing style that makes most of what you've expressed difficult to interpret.  It almost looks machine translated.  In any case welcome to the forum!  :-)

  • Email Me... 


  • Bill in theory you are correct but in practice big business and special interest control government body like FAA.

    they seem to have a other agenda DOD related! 

    • Although laws/regulation exists, it doesn't really look like an army of FAA staff are policing America based on recent articles.



      Perhaps the industry/hobbyist community can offer solutions to the FAA.  I think UAS and airliners should have a way to see/avoid each other.  I think if a company uses a drone for a delivery vehicle, they should have registration and insurance like their other delivery vehicles to ensure coverage for property damage and injury in the event of an accident.

      I think things like this would actually protect our hobby.

      -If a multicopter crashed and put someone in the hospital, the knee-jerk reaction may be to ban drones in that locality.

      -If a car or airliner crashes and puts someone in the hospital, no one even considers blaming the car.  Usually the first thought is insurance claims, and assigning fault to the person responsible.

      I think we need to get to that stage in the convergence new technology and our society.

  • Serendipitously I saw this this morning -


    Hope this helps.

This reply was deleted.


Shivchand Jaysaval liked Shivchand Jaysaval's profile
Aug 25