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,

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That isn't even remotely true.

Ever heard of a police helicopter? Traffic monitoring aircraft to catch speeders? Search and rescue?

Flying Police are the rule, not the exception. 

No one (in their right mind) on this planet is going to take issue with you using a dime store toy if it helps you stay alive. The only time I can imagine any kind of issue to arise would be when acquiring evidence without a warrant.

Example: spotting a grow house with a FLIR (the device, not the badly mis-named company). 

I say: just keep the sky-toy under 400 feet, more than 3 miles from airports, following the decades of RC practices, standards and expectations, and make them tell you to stop. There are good guidelines which I think are called, 91-57 if memory serves me......

The recent "commercial ban" is:




Outside the FAA mandate of safety.

Restricts Trade.

And all that the FAA has done is put out some kind of memo, which isn't even legal for them to hold you to. 

This is just my hot air though.

I recommend everyone writing a nice letter to your congress man about this abuse of power of a government agency.

FYI - CBP uses drones, but it's a multi-million dollar operation.



Time and money would be better spent on a Deputy and dog. Unless your looking for Tickels still?

Thanks for serving and being willing to stand in front, we will all need courage to continue standing as we learn about the coming wave of aerial robotics.

Keep learning about these machine and their capabilities by building your own platform.  It would be doubtful that a civilian diy version would be acceptable to the numerous oversights and bureaucratic roadblocks, however when it comes time for recommendations to be made they will turn to the local subject matter expert and the person who has one working when the moment arises when such capabilities are required.  Just wait for the moment when one of of the machines becomes Lassie and leads to the safe recovery of a child or the apprehension of an escaped convict, things will change.

As far as regulations go, there seems to be a pretty good split; there are people that say the FAA does not have regulations in place and then there are those that behave like they do.  Most cases boil down to responsible-safe use and asking forgiveness rather than permission.

As Deputy Sheriff, you have access to emergency and disaster plans, identify instances in them where life, limb, and property will be protected and funding through an understanding equipment manager could probably be arranged with a nod from higher as long as you have your safety and contingency flight/communications plans worked out.  Here is a step that Seattle PD made with their draft UAS operations manual.

Again, thanks.


Contact Jeff Jackson at InfiniteJib.com. He has exactly what you're looking for, and carries the new FLIR A series HD cameras.  Tell him Patrick sent you, he'll take good care of your needs.


Patrick Thompson

This is an excellent thread...so many great resources to follow up on.

I'm building a DIY quadcopter (no experience flying yet) and I appreciate the "flying lawn mower" comment posted earlier. Just how dangeroous are these to operate? Should I be concerned about losing a finger...? Keep the children away, etc.?

I am also looking for a good flight simulator for practicing with my DX6i transmitter, for Macintosh, so any recommendations are welcome.

There is an abandoned airfield near my house with lots of concrete-paved open space, so I have that going for me.

they can be, for sure dont fly over large crowds, you can get cut up, but thats the norm in all rc or drone vehicles.

Will you absolutely should get one for the department. I sent you a friend request to get in touch with you. Most members here are hobbyists. You want professional help including the AUVSI. they should have a chapter in Tennessee.

Serendipitously I saw this this morning -


Hope this helps.

Wow. All negative FAA propaganda espousing their "turf grab". 

These guys are our employee's, not our overlords.

We need to engage who ever oversees the FAA and petition them to get this "stance" corrected. 

So, who is above the FAA? 

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! 

The DOT, write a letter to Anthony Foxx. 

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