Many different professionals in law enforcement and security use drones to help with their work, and now, the Los Angeles Police Department is going to year-long trial to see if drones would be a good addition to the force. The “small Unmanned Aerial System” program will have drones deployed with officers, to help in a variety of situations.
The decision was highly controversial, but now, officers can use drones in a variety of situations, including search operations, natural disaster efforts, and in situations that need the SWAT team to come in. Deployments will have to be approved by high-ranking officers, and no drones will be armed at all. The Police Commission hopes to be transparent with how the officers use drones in their work.
Community feedback revealed that the overwhelming majority of those who participated in sharing feedback opposed the decision to deploy drones. There is a growing problem surrounding the issue of police militarization and police brutality in the United States, and there is very little accountability being taken. It is entirely possible that drones could be abused by some officers, and so it is understandable that the public would be wary of this decision The LAPD itself has had an obscene number of civil rights issues, paying out millions in settlements regularly despite the many reforms it has undergone in the last several decades. While transparency is expected, the question of what happens to drone footage remains to be answered.