The purpose of the Hemet Police Department’s Drone Program is to provide airborne support to police operations in a safe, responsible, and transparent manner to preserve the peace, reduce response times, and increase the quality of life in the city of Hemet.

Small, remotely operated Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), also called drones, are an efficient and effective way of providing law enforcement critical information to respond to calls for service and emergencies or to conduct criminal investigations. Some examples include; providing an overhead view of an area or incident for ground personnel, safely clearing the interior of buildings, providing detailed documentation of crime and accident scenes, and searching for lost or missing persons.

The Hemet Police Department is committed to maintaining transparency with the public. The Department’s Transparency Portal tracks all drone flights launched by the department, allowing citizens to view recent flight activity and program details, ensuring accountability and trust with the public.

To view the recent flight paths of our drones, visit: Hemet Police Department Drone Flight History

Hemet PD setting up Drone
Hemet PD Launching Drone
Hemet PD Controlling Drone

frequently Asked Questions

The most frequently asked questions about the Drone as a First Responder Program (DFR).

What is a drone or UAS?
UAS is an Unmanned Aerial System and is commonly called a drone. A drone is an aerial device with an onboard computer operated remotely – generally by a pilot on the ground – using a handheld controller. Small drones are battery-operated, weigh less than 55 pounds, have several rotors like a helicopter, and are equipped with a video camera.
Where are the video and photos taken by the UAS stored?
All video and photo evidence taken during any UAS mission is stored in the same manner as Body Worn Camera (BWC) video and other investigative evidence. HPD utilizes private “cloud” services to store all digital evidence. The services are authorized and certified under state and federal regulations for the security and protection of confidential information and are available only for official law enforcement purposes. Evidence is stored and saved for a limited time unless categorized as evidence in an actual crime or formal investigation.
Who has access to the video and photos?
Video and photos collected by UAS are stored to conduct police investigations and subsequent prosecutions. Accordingly, videos and pictures are generally accessible to police investigators for official use only. Like all police records, video and photos may also be subject to additional release under the same rules and restrictions as BWC video and other items of evidence. Generally, UAS photos and videos are considered part of the investigative record and may not be available to the public under the California Public Records Act (CPRA) or Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
How is my privacy protected?
The DFR Program intends to enhance HPD’s response to emergency calls for service. As such, drones are used to respond proactively to an emergency or call for police assistance. HPD policy prohibits drone operators from intentionally recording or transmitting images of any location where a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as inside private buildings, except where authorized by a warrant issued by a judge or in emergencies.
Can foreign countries gain access to HPD’s drone data or information through a drone’s built-in software?
No. Our drone data does not utilize the onboard software from the drone manufacturer. From the outset of our program, we have used an encrypted, US-based software program to bypass the drone manufacturer’s systems. Our data is encrypted and stored on US-based servers that meet federal requirements for confidential law enforcement databases.
What training do UAS pilots undergo?
In addition to the training and study required to maintain an FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot License, all HPD UAS Team members train regularly in various locations and settings to ensure operational efficiency. All training is documented, and HPD maintains the records and is subject to review by the FAA.
What rules and regulations must HPD’s UAS pilots follow?
All HPD UAS pilots are subject to FAA regulations related to airspace use, and all must have a valid “Part 107” Remote Pilot License. UAS pilots are also subject to the HPD Policy on UAS Operations.
Why Does HPD use UAS rather than helicopters?

Helicopters and other manned aircraft (air support) are costly. HPD relies on the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department for air support. UAS can be used in various ways that supplement mutual aid air support requests.

What is Drone as a First Responder?
Drone as First Responder (DFR) is an innovative and transformative use of UAS developed and implemented by HPD. The concept is to utilize a UAS to fly to any reported emergency and arrive before first responders on the ground. The video feed from the UAS is viewed at the police department by a trained first responder (teleoperator or TO). The TO can operate the UAS remotely and immediately communicate with field personnel via radio. The TO is able to evaluate the scene and circumstances before those in the field arrive and provide necessary tactical information that helps them stay safe and increase efficiency. The video feed is also immediately available to every officer in the area via a web application, so officers can see what they are responding to. The ability to evaluate the resources needed, prepare the proper operational response, and increase the safety of the first responders and the public is the intent of the project and the mission of HPD.
When do Hemet Police use UAS (drones)?
HPD uses UAS in various circumstances, such as documenting crime and accident scenes, searching for missing or wanted persons, and evaluating damage after a critical incident or natural disaster. These can happen anywhere in the city, and the HPD UAS Team will respond to those as needed.