Pearland Police can now operate BVLOS drone as first responder
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has authorized the Pearland Police Department in Texas to operate its drones as first responders beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) without any visual observers.
Pearland is a rapidly growing city south of Houston with a population of 129,600 and 179 sworn police officers. It covers a mostly residential area of 49 square miles and includes major urban facilities such as hospitals, schools, colleges, and shopping centers.
Pearland PD introduced a drone as first responder (DFR) program because it wanted to improve the response to emergency calls. Drones can be dispatched immediately, circumventing traffic. And they can offer an advanced assessment of the incident upon arriving at the scene, thus reducing risks to officers. Having these “early eyes on scene” helps the police to determine the appropriate level of response, including reducing or increasing resource deployment.
DFR programs typically see highly…