Law enforcers in Oceanside, Ca., have begun combining the use of drones and the video conferencing app Zoom, reports Governing.com. Police had been using drones for locating missing children, but ran into technical problems in higher-stakes missions like SWAT operations. Police Sgt. Jack Reed said "We’ve had a number of missions where [officers] were looking for overhead intelligence as they were approaching a target,” Reed recounted. “The SWAT commander was unable to pull up the feed for some unknown reason." Police began to look for other options.
The Oceanside Fire Department recommended using Zoom to monitor the drones. Police now are using the software to share the screen of the phone or device that is being used to control the drone, which allows all officers to see the video feed from the drone. Reed says all officers need to do is launch the drone and text out a meeting web link. He said the pairing has been used in difficult situations which otherwise could have been fatal. "One of the things that we decided to do was to perch a drone on a balcony where they could see between the vertical louvers of the apartment of this particular suspect ... [to] see if he was still armed, see what his actions were, see if he was agitated, and use that information so that the SWAT team could make decisions based on what we were seeing."