How did Florida police get around a surveillance drone ban?

Answer: With a blimp on a tether.

by / January 10, 2019

For the last few years, the Miami Beach Police Department has been looking for a way to conduct aerial surveillance of crowds at large events without using drones. That’s because in 2015, the state of Florida passed a law that prohibits the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to surveil citizens. Their most recent workaround: a blimp on a tether.

The blimp, or aerostat, was equipped with cameras to monitor crowds at a Dec. 28 Orange Bowl party for security. According to the Miami New Times, MBPD spokesperson Ernesto Rodriguez said that the police department believed the aerostat didn’t violate the law.

“This tethered balloon is new technology and we do not feel we are in violation of the law,” Rodriguez said. “This is new technology, it's smart tech, and it's safe tech that we’re using to keep folks safe during large events.”