Police going into dangerous situations have a lot of new tools at their disposal.
Police departments have a wide range of aerial drones to choose from. These flying cameras can provide a better view of a situation, allowing police to make more informed tactical decisions.
Closer to the ground, police units are beginning to experiment with “throw cameras” like the Recon Scout XL. These small maneuverable cameras are literally designed to be thrown by police and then operated wirelessly. The small cameras can peer around corners, explore entire floors, or even crawl into spaces not deemed structurally safe.
And in the rise of the truly sci-fi based, police in some areas of the US are experimenting with wall penetrating radar. An investigation in 2015 identified at least 50 US law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the US Marshalls, that had been using radar for at least two years with minimal to no notice to the public or the courts.
The radar and aerial drones are the subjects of intense debates over the balance of police capabilities and personal privacy. The throw cameras are less controversial, at least in part because they are lesser known. It could also be that the limited range of the small terrestrial based cameras seems less invasive and less likely to be used in any sort of mass surveillance gone wrong situation.
In the face of critics, police assert that these tools used in moderation allow them to better protect themselves and the public by clarifying threats in dangerous situations.