Skip to comments.Bay Area Law Enforcement Agencies Test Drones
Posted on 10/18/2012 8:49:44 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine
They began as tools in military combat. Now aerial drones are being considered by Bay Area law enforcement agencies as a cost-cutting way to replace helicopters, and use technology to fight crime and save lives.
Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern first tested one of these Unmanned Aerial Systems or UAS about a year ago. Now hes looking into possibly bringing a drone here. His office would be the first in California to do it. Armed with live-video-feeding capabilities and different features, like infrared devices, these drones can cost in the ballpark of 50- to 100-thousand dollars or more.
There are several different models, but the one Ahern is considering weighs four pounds and spans four-feet. He says the drones get a birds-eye view that most tactical officers on the ground would never get, sometimes endangering their lives. A demonstration at the countys Office of Emergency Services building in Dublin a couple months ago featured a man standing in the shadows on a rooftop, with three possible explosives clearly in his reach. The drone saw everything; the officers on the ground could not.
Very valuable to any tactical officer, as youre setting up your perimeters and knowing what the suspect may have in his hands, how the suspect is dressed, what are the avenues of escape? Ahern added that his office would only use drones during emergencies, from a high-speed or high-risk chase to search-and-rescue operations in disasters, as well as proactive policing measures like catching marijuana grows in fields on public lands and in grow houses.
But not everyone is pleased at the growing number of agencies looking to use these UAS. The American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU says drones should only be deployed when a warrant for a specific crime is involved. The ACLU is also worried that they may harm both privacy and people. In a statement, the ACLU wrote, Drone manufacturers are also considering offering police the option of arming these remote-controlled aircraft with weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas.
Sheriff Ahern says an armed drone is out of the question. He says local public safety agencies must take advantage of innovation thats out there, calling it a no brainer.
In two weeks, the Alameda County Sheriffs Office is hosting its annual Urban Shield preparedness exercise involving about 30 other law enforcement agencies. Thats where theyll get the chance to test out different drones in simulations of disasters and high-risk situations to see if they really work. If so, Sheriff Ahern says he has been looking specifically into a federal grant that promotes community policing.
Until it isn't...
Nuthin` new-They were using RC model airplanes with cameras to monitor drug houses in Bay Area in 2005 already. The druggies shot one down and it landed in my back yard - I still have the pieces—
Big difference between using these in some third world hellhole or in restricted/closed airspace and using them tactically over a domestic urban area. The proposed regulations are not even out yet. At the pace of FAA deliberations, probably 5 yrs before they can be used in the fashion the sheriff hopes..
I just don’t like being watched, either by helicopter or drones, or red light cameras. I don’t like being eave dropped. I don’t like my mail being read. I don’t like my internet being tracked. I don’t like my shopping habits being recorded. I don’t like my medical records leaving my doctor’s office. I don’t like DNA databases. I don’t like gun registrations. I don’t like big overpowering government. I like being FREE.
That RC operation was likely illegal itself.
I just don’t like being watched, either by helicopter or drones, or red-light cameras. I don’t like being eave dropped. I don’t like my mail being read. I don’t like my internet being tracked. I don’t like my shopping habits being recorded. I don’t like my medical records leaving my doctor’s office. I don’t like DNA databases. I don’t like gun registrations. I don’t like big overpowering government. I like being FREE.
Definitely since they didn`t monitor the house by vehicle stake-out, I guess they resorted to the RC stuff.
Or 15 minutes by executive order, or whatever the new Drone Czar decrees.
“I guess they resorted to the RC stuff.”
You can control it from the local doughnut shop...couldn’t resist.
Drones for the city keeping citizens free from the threats posed by plastic bags, bottled water, pet stores and kids, huh...?
Drones for the city OK with public gay fellatio and peeing on one another..?
I ask cuz I lived there and NONE of that is made up...