The guidance states that drones recently “have emerged as a viable law enforcement tool.” In addition to affirming DOJ’s commitment to civil rights and privacy laws, the guidance imposes rules on who can order drone support for law enforcement purposes, and creates annual reporting requirements on the agency’s drone use.

DOJ’s creation of an agency working group (and public release of these new rules) may signal increased drone use by the dozens of DOJ law enforcement agencies, including: the FBI; DEA; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Government contractors already in the business of providing supplies and services related to unmanned flight, surveillance, intelligence gathering, and data analysis may see increased opportunity from new government customers in a field traditionally dominated by the U.S. Department of Defense and the intelligence community.

The DOJ guidance may be found here.