NASBLA Roundtable


  • 1.  Drones

    Posted 04-14-2020 09:43 PM
    GE All,
     I am working on getting us drones for our marine unit. I was wondering if anyone had any insight on them. The pros and cons. Any law enforcement that uses them. Any other information that my help me.


    Alfonso Garcia

    Alfonso Garcia
    Houston Police

  • 2.  RE: Drones

    Posted 04-15-2020 07:45 AM

    We are currently in the process of getting a drone for our department. We have an officer that is a Blackhawk Pilot in the National Guard and is also involved with drones in the military. He speced the drone for us and it is currently on order. While we don't have any experience utilizing it yet, I have a source of good information if that is of any help.

    Kevin Snow
    Rhode Island Environmental Police

    Kevin Snow
    Environmental Police Officer
    Rhode Island DEM Environmental Police

  • 3.  RE: Drones

    Posted 04-15-2020 07:51 AM
    Check with Texas Parks And Wildlife they have a very nice drone with a long battery life.

    Donald Stanton
    Harris County Sheriff

  • 4.  RE: Drones

    Posted 04-20-2020 01:30 PM
    Hey Alfonso,
    I'm with Texas Parks and Wildlife's UAS Program.  We have nearly 70 Part 107 pilots and 65 drones across the state.  We have experience with several different quadcopter models, and I hope we get into the marine offshore work soon.  Ideally, a vertical takeoff and land (VTOL) long-range, fixed wing drone would be good for marine surveillance work.  But with you being Houston PD, I'm not sure how far from shore you guys would be operating, and a smaller quadcopter drone may be better and more affordable.  I'd be glad to discuss further if you have any particular questions.

    Donald, thanks for the shout out here!


    Brandon Rose
    Captain Game Warden/UAS Program Supervisor
    Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

  • 5.  RE: Drones

    Posted 04-15-2020 08:21 AM
    It depends on your use. We chose to be able to have quick deployment and availability on the scene, so we have multiple smaller drones. We operate a DJI Inspire with FLIR capability. 2 Standard DJI Mavik pros for daytime capability and fast deployment. last is a DJI Mavic enterprise with a dual camera that uses Flir and standard camera simultaneously. All have similar controls and layouts. Some deploy larger drones with longer flight times. We needed fast, on-scene response and capability to search with FLIR. A good resource is Heitman Security. He is the consultant that assisted us. He can help with mapping and surveillance information. 770 355 0030.  He is also familiar with training to obtain your COA and other waivers for night flights, flights over crowds, etc.  I hope that helps.

    Jeffrey Statham
    Gilmer County Dept Public Safety

  • 6.  RE: Drones

    Posted 04-16-2020 08:13 AM

    We have a Matrice 210 with the Z30 zoom camera and XT2 FLir camera.  Impressed with the set up so far. We just got it a few months back. We haven't used it for anything on the water yet but a handful of calls on land and it has been great. Flight times over 20 minutes in high winds and freezing temps in Wisconsin.

    Chase DuRand | Patrol Deputy
    St. Croix County Sheriff's Office
    1101 Carmichael Rd Hudson WI 54016
    T: 715-381-4350 | F: 715-386-4606




  • 7.  RE: Drones

    Posted 04-15-2020 09:36 AM

    Good morning Alfonso,

    We are working here at NASBLA to build a maritime drone course, and it has proven to be harder than originally thought.  Drone flight over water is tricky and depends on the drone used and launch site.  Most currently available commercial drones have a "come home" feature that will land the drone where it was launched from if the Pilot loses communication with the drone.  If you launched from a vessel it will land where that vessel "was" when launched.  We have lost one DJI Phantom 4 drone in the water, and at $1800+ that can be costly.

    Depending on what your agency plans to do with the drone it is highly recommended you launch from a static site landside, to alleviate possibly losing a drone.  If you have a drone with FLIR cameras the cost of that aircraft can easily be more than $15K!  FLIR/Raymarine has technology now that will launch and recover a DJI Mavic drone through their Axiom Multifunction Display.

    This technology was developed to film landing a fish on sport fishing vessels, and they quickly realized the benefit for Public Safety Agencies use for Law Enforcement and Search and Rescue.  The Mavic drone is considerably cheaper, and won't hurt as much if you lose one in the water.

    If your agency is looking at some other uses for the drone (high-risk boardings, port security missions, radiological/nuclear detection etc) then you really need to set build a robust drone program. That process is a multiyear process, including educating the public on how you will use the drones, obtaining Part 107 licenses and/or Certificates of Authorizations (COAs), maintenance programs, flight logs etc.

    There are many Public Saftey Agencies that have robust drone programs in place and are willing to share their experiences.  Check out this website for PSA's and drones, they have lots of great information!

    Hope this helps!



    Dave Considine
    BOAT Program Director
    Cell (978) 314-1839
    Office Direct (859) 225-7375

  • 8.  RE: Drones

    Posted 04-20-2020 04:47 PM

    The "come home" challenge of landing a drone on a vessel it was launched from can theoretically be solved by linking the systems of the vessel to the drone: e.g., vessel AIS to the drone.  If drones are given transponders, those can potentially be synchronized. This would allow the drone real-time awareness of vessel position, and its own position. If anyone is working on this, or is interested in this, I would be interested in speaking with them.

    Robert Rovetto
    Help others succeed and you will.
    Seeking Opportunities in Maritime Safety/SAR.
    BA, MA. Merchant Mariner Credential (100 ton)
    Webmaster, Journal of SAR.
    Seeking also any small boat operations job in any sector.
    Available as boat crew, or small-boat operator, or radio dispatch.
    Open to apprenticeships, temp and seasonal roles. Boating Services.
    Experience writing grants/proposals, research papers, training manuals & visual study-guides.
    Able to teach basic seamanship, SAR concepts, boat crew duties, and jetski rescue operations.