Some local law enforcement agencies are considering a new tool.
It's one that they say would aid in investigating accidents, crime scenes and finding missing people.
Drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's) could give Central Georgia law enforcement eyes in the sky.
Lorra Lynch Jones talked with police about the possibilities and privacy concerns of drones.
For $1,200, retired engineer from Centerville, Lou Crouch bought a quad-copter, commonly called a drone, from Amazon.com.
Crouch bought it for his own entertainment. He said, "It just gives you a different a view of things."
He found it could help out his hobby, which is taking pictures as a volunteer publicist for the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.
Crouch said, "It's easy to fly. It's cheap. It's not costing police anything, because I bring it and fly it for them."
Lt. Brian Hunter works for the Byron Police Department and is the coordinator for the Middle Georgia Traffic Enforcement Network. The network is one of twelve traffic regions designated by the GOHS.
Middle Ga Traffic Enforcement Network: Watch More Drone Videos
Hunter watched Crouch pilot his drone during a roadblock in Twiggs County on I-16 last March.
He said Crouch's drone gave them a panoramic view of traffic. Hunter said, "The more pictures, the better. We can see if traffic's backed up too far, and we need to let it flow."
He said the drone added an extra vantage point for officers, capturing cars as they approached the traffic stop.
Hunter said, "People, all the time, throwing evidence out the car, throwing drugs, before they get to us. It'll pick up all that as well."
Bibb County Sheriff David Davis saw Crouch's photography and its potential, saying, "I think there's some great applications for it."
Davis researched buying one for the sheriff's office, but discovered it's not as easy for a government agency to use a drone, as it is an individual using one for a hobby, like Crouch.
FAA: Rules on UAV use
He said, "We've got to get FAA approval."
That's a rigorous process says Chad Dennis. He is the director of the group helping craft Georgia drone laws, the Unmanned Aerial Systems working group, and a teacher at Middle Georgia State College's Eastman Aviation Campus.
It is one only two entities in Georgia with FAA approval to pilot drones. The other is the Georgia Tech Research Institute.
Dennis described the process for getting an FAA Certificate of Approval (COA). He said, "They have to explain the full parameters of where they will be flying, how they'll be flying, how high they'll be flying."
They also have to provide details on the drone being used, the operators and their training, and an emergency landing plan, among other details. The process can take months.
According to FAA documents, two law enforcement agencies in Georgia have applied for approval to fly drones. The agency denied the Georgia Tech Campus Police application. They're still considering forms submitted by the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, which is near Augusta.
Warner Robins Police Chief Brett Evans said, "Here in Warner Robins, we don't own any. We haven't used any."
Evans says he's interested in drones for accident and crime scene photos, but hesitant about another use: surveillance.
He said, "Until there's a real clarification about how they're going to be held in the courts, I would not go that route."
Evans and other officers are watching the progress of a bill (HB 5)currently before the Georgia State Legislature.
More Information: Drone Bill Before Ga. Legislature
It proposes requiring a warrant for police use of drone's above private property, and sets limits on when and where they can take pictures and video.
Evans said, "I think that's where some drones are going to cross the line, between do you have a legal right to be in the air space?"
Davis said laws will help his agency move forward with drone technology. He said, "I think it's only right right for a government agency to be held to a little bit higher standard, that if were going to use them, have some proper guidelines, so that people know we are not out there willy-nilly, looking at their private property."
While they're not ready to take law enforcement into the skies just yet, both Davis and Evans believe it could be a possibility at their agencies by year's end.
The FAA prohibits any type of drone, public or private, to carry projectiles. Bombs or bullets are strictly limited to drones piloted by the military.