This toolkit is designed to assist law enforcement and public safety entities in operating and handling situations involving drones or UAS.

Webinar: Drone Safety: It’s the Law
The use of drones in our nation’s airspace is rapidly increasing, which raises both opportunities and challenges for public safety and government officials. Learn more about how your authority allows you to take action and respond to unauthorized or unsafe drone operations. Watch the webinar.

Advisory Circular (AC) 00-1.1B
Government or government-contracted aircraft operations must obtain COA from the FAA prior to operations.
Advisory Circular 00-1.1B, Public Aircraft Operations

Small UAS Rule Part 107
This rule contains safety regulations for drones weighing less than 55 pounds.
Summary of the Part 107 Rule (PDF)
Fly under the Small UAS Rule
Advisory Circular 107-2 (PDF)

The Exception for Recreational Flyers
People who fly their drone, UAS, or model aircraft for fun are considered recreational flyers.
Recreational Flyers & Modeler Community-Based Organizations
Authorization for limited recreational operations as described in section 44809 (PDF)
Advisory Circular 91-57B – Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft

Mobile Apps
The FAA’s B4UFly App assists users in determining where they can and can’t fly. Law enforcement and public safety agencies can use it to determine where they can operate drones or whether drone operations are authorized in a specific location or not.

Public Safety Small Drone Playbook

Drones are being safely integrated into our national airspace for recreational, commercial, and public safety uses. However, unauthorized operations can cause potential hazards to people and property both in the air and on the ground. Our Public Safety Small Drone Playbook is intended to be used as an informational resource for public safety officials conducting investigations regarding drones. The Playbook can assist in determining the difference between authorized and non-authorized drone operations and what potential actions public safety might take.

Do you work in public safety? We encourage you to download this Playbook as a reference (PDF).

A safety management system is composed of four functional components:

    1. Safety Policy
    2. Safety Risk Management
    3. Safety Assurance
    4. Safety Promotion
FAA Safety Management System (SMS) Components

Recommendations for using Safety Management Systems (SMS) in UAS Operations

This guidance and the recommended SMS frameworks that can be voluntarily used to develop formal safety-related systems, procedures and best practices for commercial Unmanned Aircraft Operations particularly when operating under CFR 14 Part 91, 107, or Part 135. This information fills the gap between the minimal operating regulations and the need for a uniform level of proficiency, training, and risk management based on the level of risk of the operation.
This guidance is a structured practical approach to establishing customized, proactive safety management systems which will help operators identify and mitigate risks for 3 different levels of operational complexity: Low, Medium and High. The following SMS guidance may be followed in a modular fashion, or, in its entirely. Broad use and acceptance have the potential to help build public trust and acceptance in the technology and in the organizations striving to improve safety.
The recommendations that follow are derived from regulatory and advisory documents, accredited industry standards, and recognized international standards for unmanned aircraft operations. The FAA regulatory source documents are included in the Addendum section of this document, and other standards references include ISO, ASTM, ANSI, NIMS, NFPA, OSHA, RTCA, ICAO, IEEE and more. Therefore, following this guidance will help commercial operators of all sizes, with varying scopes of operations, to use broader methods in executing best-in-class safety practices.

SMS Frameworks
The UAST has identified 3 different levels of operational complexity and risk: Low, Medium and High.

Low Complexity Operations will benefit from a Basic SMS which is designed to help inform the operator how to prepare and act safely.

Medium Complexity Operations will benefit from building on a Basic SMS to establish an Intermediate SMS which is designed to help standardize safety throughout the operator’s organization.

High Complexity Operations can benefit from being guided by an Advanced SMS that is built upon the foundation of an organization’s Intermediate SMS and is designed to help a UAS operator to continuously improve safety within their organization.