Police agencies across the nation are increasingly using drones to improve public safety, but need clear operations policies and limits to win public trust, experts said at a law enforcement conference in San Diego yesterday, reports U-T San Diego. A model policy on use of drones – or “small unmanned aircraft systems” – was rolled out by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The policy, which could be adopted or revised by any agency, sets out specific procedures for deploying a drone, lists restrictions on its use, details how data would be retained or deleted and how operators should be trained.
“Do not start a (drone) program without a policy … Engage the public,” advised Alan Frazier, a Grand Forks (ND) County part-time sheriff's deputy and member of the association's aviation committee. He spoke to law enforcement officials attending a three-day conference focusing on technology from body cameras to digital evidence and social media. Frazier said his agency has used drones 18 times across the state in the past two years. He said they have helped search flood zones, photograph homicide scenes and track felony suspects. Fifteen states have enacted anti-drone laws, “most of them aimed at us,” Frazier said. Another nine states defeated drone legislation, but 10 states California, are considering it.