Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis


Best Senior Thesis in Government

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

John Pitney

Reader 2

Lisa Koch

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© 2024 Nathaniel A Worley


This thesis explores the feasibility of implementing a Drone as First Responder (DFR) program within the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), analyzing the operational, social, and financial implications compared to traditional police helicopter usage. The thesis investigates helicopter flight patterns, demographic correlations, and the potential for drones to provide a less invasive and more cost-effective aerial support system. Key findings include the use of incorrect identifying hex codes by LAPD helicopters, suggesting potential transparency issues in aerial operations. The thesis recommends DFR due to substantial cost savings and enhanced surveillance transparency and asserts that a DFR program can mitigate negative impacts associated with police helicopters, such as noise and intrusiveness, while promoting accountability in police practices. Implementation strategies include stringent guidelines for DFR operation, ensuring adherence to privacy laws and community involvement. Further research is proposed to evaluate the long-term effects of DFR on crime rates, community safety, and police-community relations, alongside immediate reforms in helicopter usage policies. This work highlights the transformative potential of DFR in urban policing, advocating for policy advancements to accompany technological innovations, ensuring these tools enhance public safety and civil liberties while gaining community acceptance.