The Michigan State Police (MSP) says it is working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to become one of the first police agencies in the nation to obtain statewide authorization to fly an unmanned aerial system to support public safety efforts.
In September 2013, the MSP first purchased the Aeryon SkyRanger UAS from Aeryon Labs. Since that time, the MSP says, it has worked closely with the FAA to meet all safety and training requirements, as well as to develop policies and procedures. In February 2014, the MSP received a Certificate of Authorization (COA) from the FAA to conduct training flights with the UAS near the MSP Training Academy.
The MSP has scheduled a site visit with the FAA to review the request for authorization to fly the UAS for law enforcement support missions statewide. Potential missions include search and rescue, as well as crime-scene and crash investigations.
MSP policy dictates that the UAS is always flown by a two-person crew, with one acting as the pilot and the other as a safety observer. The FAA-certified pilot has received specific training from the manufacturer. Also, the device must remain below 400 feet and always be within line of sight of the crew.