What Do Police Drones Look Like at Night?

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Updated July 27, 2022

If you are new to the world of unmanned aerial vehicles, you may wonder what police drones look like at night. Some of the best drones, after all, are being used by police and related law enforcement agencies. What is a drone, how can you spot police drones at night, and what other types of service drones could be lurking in your air space? Keep reading to find out.


  • Police department drones look like ordinary commercial drones, though they vary wildly depending on the shape and design.
  • Law enforcement agencies use police department drones and military drones to track down suspects and patrol neighborhoods.
  • Spot law enforcement drones at night by using motion-detecting cameras or a dedicated smartphone app. Also, look for the white light.

What Is a Police Drone?

As the name suggests, police department drones are UAVs owned and operated by various law enforcement agencies, which is much different from learning what commercial drones are used for. Police drones scour neighborhoods looking for suspects and traffic infractions once the operators learn how to use the drone camera. Police drones are also durable and excel with surveillance tasks if you are looking for a waterproof drone.

Police department drones include many of the same features as commercial or consumer drones, including cameras if you are learning how to get into drone photography.

What Does a Police Drone Look Like?

Police department drones are not unique in the world of UAVs, so they look like any drone for the most part. However, police drones will operate in neighborhoods and in areas of restricted airspace, which is something commercial drone pilots cannot do.

Insider Tip

Police drones have a limited range just like commercial drones, depending on the battery size and type.

What Does a Police Drone Sound Like?

Just as with visuals, law enforcement drones sound like any commercially-available drone. In other words, listen for the tell-tale whirring of the motor. Of course, all drones are different, so some will be louder than others as technology rapidly increases to minimize sound during use.

How to Spot a Law Enforcement Drone at Night

There are many ways to successfully identify a law enforcement drone at night. Here are a few tips.

Look for the Lights

A drone’s aerial lights are a dead giveaway here. If you see lights flying about the sky at night, chances are it is not a commercial drone but a police department drone.

Use an App

There are many drone detection apps available to smartphone users, so give one a download and see if it works to spot any drones flying at night.

Use Motion Detector Cameras

Installing standard motion detection cameras is a good way to suss out any drones flying over your property. Place them as indicated by the instructions and point them up and around for the best results.

STAT: In 2015, Congress passed the USA FREEDOM Act to ban bulk collection of sensitive information such as Americans’ communications metadata. (source)

What Do Police Drones Look Like at Night FAQs

How far can drones see at night?

This depends on if they are equipped with night vision cameras that feature blue lights to locate suspects and conduct aerial surveillance. It also depends on how much visible light is present.

How do you tell if a drone is watching you at night?

You can use night vision cameras to locate an active drone program near you, but the best tactic is to take a multi-pronged approach to suss out various types of drones and drone models flying overhead.

How far away can you hear a drone at night?

At least 100 feet, though some of the quietest drones will minimize this statistic. Pay attention to your ears and drone noises for the presence of drones in your neighborhood.
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