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Iowa Legal Update Lesson Summaries

2022 Lesson 1: Drones


Release Date:


This is an online technical skills course focused on drone operations and drone investigations.  

Section one addresses the prevalence of drones in the United States and why law enforcement agencies may use drones. It examines how law enforcement officers may become involved in drone use, including situations where a person shoots another person’s drone, drones are used in search and rescue operations, drones interfere with police operations, drones are used to further criminal activity, and drones are used for commercial purposes. 

Section two examines the rules that apply to the public and to law enforcement agencies using drones. It explains the exception for recreational flyers and the Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems rule, also known as Part 107. The section identifies prohibited drone operations. It explains how to comply with temporary flight restrictions, rules regarding operating over people and at night, and how to avoid hazards associated with flying near airports. 

Section three examines the role of local law enforcement officers in investigations involving drones. It provides guidance from the Federal Aviation Administration on suggested questions local law enforcement officers should ask drone operators. It provides examples of a remote pilot certificate, Small UAS Certificate of Registration, and a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization. It also indicates state laws that may be implicated in drone operations. 

Section four examines how to set up a law enforcement drone program. It provides examples of how police may use drones in their operations and the options for setting up a drone program. It explores pre-implementation considerations for agencies, including: researching relevant laws and regulations; community outreach; selecting drone equipment; funding the drone program; staffing the drone team; and training. It examines countermeasures against threats posed by drones. 

Section five addresses search and seizure considerations for agencies implementing a drone program.

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