A look at the advanced police drone coming to one LA County police department

While there are a number of police departments that use drones to help in crime fighting, a company called Brinc has introduced what it claims is the first fully functional police unit designed to be fully integrated with a department's 911 system. And, one is expected to come to one LA County police force by the end of the year.

Hawthorne is one of the cities using drones for police work. According to Hawthorne Police Captain Eric Lane, the drone can often get to a crime scene before an officer can. 

"The response time is three to four minutes faster than a police officer's," Lane said.

Lane said Hawthorne only has about 90 police officers and one helicopter to protect the roughly 80,000 people who live in the 6.1-square-mile city.

"We're a small department," Lane said. On any given day, our officers are responding [to] a lot of calls for service."

That's why they've added six commercial drones to their operations. The drones are like what you'd buy off a store shelf. But, imagine a drone made specifically for police work — not just sizing up petty crimes or looking for suspects, but a 911 response vehicle that can show police how many officers are needed, if any, at the scene of a crime.

The drones could even get to the scene of a mass shooting before officers, to help assess the scene, like before the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in Las Vegas.

Blake Resnick, who started Brinc Drones, was living in Las Vegas at that time. He recalled that at first, police weren't sure how many shooters there were, and remembered how long it took for officers to enter the shooter's room.

"I thought that if they could get troops and flying cameras, that would help," said Resnick.

Resnick took that idea and decided to make a 911 Response Drone; a flying first responder, complete with sirens, lights and a police logo. It's a drone that could drop Narcan or other tools into an area to save lives, and could connect to the department with both audio and video feeds. 

Resnick said the drone could have looked into the shooter's hotel window on that October 1 day in Las Vegas. 

"They would have an HD video feed," Resnick said. "They'd have a picture [and] they would have known that this was a lone gunman halfway up the Mandalay Bay shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival… If you can get to the suspect, you can stop the shooting."

Capt. Lane said the drone can provide the department with valuable information about what officers may be dealing with when responding to a crime scene, in a city where police say violent crime is down, but other crimes are up as much as 15-20%. Lane thinks Resnick's drone and accessories can make a difference.

The Hawthorne Police Department is expected to receive the new drone at the end of the year.