Miami Police Might Want Unmanned Drone for Surveillance

Miami-Dade could be breaking ground with reported purchase of unmanned flying craft for police surveillance.

by / January 7, 2011
Police departments are testing unmanned surveillance aircraft. Photo courtesy of Sacramento Police Dept. Photo courtesy of Sacramento Police Dept.

Soon, when residents of Miami-Dade County, Fla., look up in the sky, digital eyes might be looking back at them.

The Miami-Dade Police Department recent purchased unmanned flying drone called T-Hawk, according to a local TV station. The vehicle, similar to those used in Iraq and Afghanistan to fight the war on terror, is an unmanned plane equipped with cameras and may soon come to the county, according to

But first, flying this unmanned plane in U.S. airspace would require changes to FAA regulations. The idea itself isn’t new: Local police departments have lobbied to use unmanned flying vehicles for years — Sacramento, Calif., floated the idea in 2007.

Miami-Dade’s drone was purchased from defense firm Honeywell in an effort to assist with the department’s Special Response Team’s operations.

“It gives us a good opportunity to have an eye up there. Not a surveilling eye, not a spying eye,” Miami-Dade Police Director James Loftus said in a statement. “Let’s make the distinction. A surveilling eye to help us to do the things we need to do, honestly, to keep people safe.”

The Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reportedly voiced concern over the purchase and how it might impact personal privacy of citizens.

The purchase of the drone is speculated to have come from a federal grant. However, this information hasn’t been confirmed.

The drone weights 20 pounds and can fly for 40 minutes, reach heights of 10,500 feet and can fly at 46 mph.

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