Police Department Keeps UAVs Despite Vow to Return Them

Posted by UAO Staff on March 27, 2014 No Comments
Categories : Policy & Regulations

The Seattle Police Department has reneged on a promise to return two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the vendor the department had purchased the aircraft from in 2010.

At the time of the acquisition, Seattle police failed to inform the city council and public that it had bought two Draganflyer X6 units using $82,000 in funds from the Department of Homeland Security, according to a report by Motherboard. The purchase came to light after a 2012 Electronic Frontier Foundation lawsuit revealed that the Seattle Police Department was seeking clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate the UAVs.

Police use of drones was strongly opposed by the community, and the backlash forced former Seattle Mayor Michael McGinn to end the program and announce that the UAVs would be returned.

After Motherboard filed a freedom of information request to confirm that the aircraft had been sent back to the vendor, the website learned that the drones were still in the possession of the Seattle Police Department.

However, a March 2013 blotter post by the department noted that there were no plans to reinstate the UAV program. Shortly thereafter, the public affairs director of the Seattle Police Department told a local media outlet that the return policy had expired.

Read the full Motherboard article here.

Photo courtesy of Draganfly Innovations Inc.

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