Clark County Sheriff-elect Kevin McMahill sees a future where drones are able to reach a location to record crimes anywhere in the Las Vegas Valley. McMahill becomes county sheriff in January, with the police strategy expected to be implemented as soon as possible.
The sheriff's department has located almost a dozen "chronic hot spots" responsible for around 75% of crime in the area - and the drones can be activated to fly directly to any ShotSpotter alert within a minute. This would provide photographs and videos of criminal activity, while also giving local law enforcement insight into the incident.
This type of surveillance may reduce officer-involved shootings, identify and locate suspects, and keep officers safe while on patrol. Of course, there will be some backlash over such a program, with people questioning how much additional surveillance is saved - or shared - for future investigations.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department currently uses drones for crowd surveillance and potential civil unrest.
Here is what McMahill said while speaking at a breakfast hosted by a real estate development company:
"We're taking 400 drones that are pre-positioned out in these neighborhoods, on top of businesses. When the gunshot detection technology goes off, it'll triangulate, it'll give the GPS coordinates to the local drone. The drone will be overhead within 30 seconds."
Sheriff-elect McMahill also wants to alleviate officer shortages with full factional recognition software and license plate readers - fully embracing technology as much as possible to help the community.
Law enforcement drone use is a sensitive subject with vocal critics worried about privacy concerns. However, police departments across the US are expanding drone fleets, though have a number of different uses. For example, drones are more prevalent in search and rescue missions, to more accurately identify where a person or vehicle is located.