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Debating police use of drones, as LAPD looks to launch pilot drone program

by AirTalk®

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One person waves to the camera on a drone as people pose for a photo, July 3, 2016, at the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the LAPD announced a plan for a pilot drone program to the Board of Police Commissioners, amid protests from organizations Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and the Drone-Free LAPD/No Drones, LA! Campaign.

The LAPD says it will hold public meetings to get feedback before drafting guidelines for the use of drones. If approved, LAPD would pilot small drones into dangerous situations, such as bomb scares, active shootings and hostage standoffs in order to gather information, as reported by the LA Times.

But privacy advocates and critics are fearful of what they see as the militarization of law enforcement, as well as the potential for overreach, i.e. the expansion of drones beyond their stated use. We debate the potential use of drones by police.

Should the LAPD be allowed to use drones? What limitations and regulations should be placed on their use? What are your concerns over such a program?


Craig Lally, lieutenant at the LAPD and president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the labor union representing LAPD officers

Melanie Ochoa, staff attorney on police practices at the ACLU of Southern California


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