Tethered drones becoming a staple for police and fire departments
The Fotokite Sigma has recently been mentioned as one of the more common tethered drones used by police and fire departments to provide simple and easy situational awareness.
Drones (including tethered drones) are becoming critical tools for all kinds of use cases in law enforcement and firefighting. In many aspects of their emergency operations, a new era driven by drone usage is emerging, featured in the latest article, “11 Ways Police Departments are using drones” from Police1.com.
Tethered drones Fotokite Police

From traffic crash reconstruction, pre-tactical deployment, reconnaissance, special ops, fire response to search and rescue, classical drones as well as tethered drones are now known for bringing additional safety during critical situations and an improved operational effectiveness over all. Emergency teams and Public safety chiefs are embracing this new technology into their daily operations.

Drones are being used for everything from special operations and reconnaissance before tactical deployments, reconstruction of traffic crashes and life-saving search and rescue missions. Free-flying drones along with tethered drones are now allowing first responders to gain game changing situational awareness during critical situations, resulting in an improved operational effectiveness. Emergency teams and public safety chiefs are embracing this new technology in their daily operations. For example, here is a great example of how the Oklahoma City Fire Department uses Fotokite in their daily operations.

The simplicity and persistent “eye in the sky” is driving more and more public safety, fire, emergency management and departments of transportation to harness the value that tethered drones bring to their deployments. Providing stationary, real-time situational awareness, as simple as a one-button touch, at many emergency scenes, as described in the following excerpt from article, 11 Ways Police Departments are using drones” from Police1.com.


‘ Tethered drones are another tool being deployed by law enforcement and other public safety agencies. The drones are deployed in a stationary mode, which allows continuous overwatch. The tether serves as its power source and negates the need to change batteries. The tethered operation is relatively simple: a one-button launch and one-button land. The tethered drone offers a way to maintain the scene perimeter and both visual optic and thermal images that can be streamed in real-time. Tethered drones can be mounted on a vehicle, in a compartment, or be portable in a Pelican case and launched in seconds. Fotokite is one of the more common tethered drones and sees significant deployment by fire departments.”- Chief Charles Werner


tethered drones Police
4G/LTE modem on board of Fotokite, allows for thermal and regular low-light video streams to be broadcast to a remote location via a secure link.

In addition, a recent Droneresponders.org research report shows that more than 5,000 public safety agencies have already implemented drone programs in the U.S. An estimated 2/3 are law enforcement agencies.

According to the IEDO 2022 report of Best practices in robotics, whether in firefighting, traffic monitoring or crowd management, autonomy over longer periods of time is one of the key advantages of tethered drones (wired drones). See Merrill Fire Department using Fotokite to monitor a long lasting fire response.

Fotokite is proud to work in close partnership with some of the best public safety teams in the world. Thanks to a strong partnership with Axon Air, Fotokite  is continuously working to introduce tethered drones to law enforcement teams that have existing or new drone programs in place. Fotokite also has a technology partnership with fire equipment leader MSA, which offers an enhanced connected platform called FireGrid. 

As a result, Fotokite Sigma tethered drones are currently being flown by the Fire Department of New York, Chicago Fire Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, Montreal SPVM, London Metropolitan Police, Paris and Zurich Fire Brigades and many more. Hear from current Fotokite customers here or visit www.fotokite.com.

About the writer of Police1.com Article

Chief Charles Werner is a 47-year veteran of public safety.

He served 37 years with the Charlottesville (Virginia) Fire Department, retiring as fire chief. During his career, he served two years as a reserve deputy with the Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office. Charles presently serves as director of DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance, is a member of the International Public Safety Association’s UAS Committee, is chair of the Virginia Secure Commonwealth UAS Sub Panel, is an FAA-certified remote pilot, and is a member of the IACP Aviation Committee and APSA. Charles was recognized as Homeland Security Today Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2019 for his work on public safety drone programs.