Seattle Mayor Halts Police Drone Plan, Seeks Focus on “Community Building”


Saying police need to stay focused on “community building,” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has pulled the plug on the department's controversial drone program even before it got off the ground, reports the Seattle Times. McGinn said he and police Chief John Diaz agreed that it was time to end the program so the Seattle Police Department “can focus its resources on public safety and the community building work that is the department's priority.”

McGinn said the two drones purchased by the city with federal funds will be returned to their vendor. The announcement came a day after the city held a public hearing on a proposed ordinance outlining restrictions for the department's drone program, which drew vocal opposition from numerous citizens concerned with intrusions into their privacy. The Police Department is among dozens of law-enforcement agencies, academic institutions, and other agencies that were given approval last year by the Federal Aviation Administration to train operators in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones. The FAA action came after President Obama signed a law that compelled the agency to plan for safe integration of civilian drones into U.S. airspace by 2015.

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