WA Police Dept. Looks to Public on UAS Policy

Before deploying unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), the Pullman, Wash., Police Department is making sure to include public input on its policy for using the technology.

The department intends to use drones for search and rescue, traffic coordination (such as post-game traffic for Washington State University [WSU] home football games), outdoor crime scene and major traffic collision documentation, tactical reconnaissance, tactical deployment (SWAT), weather event reconnaissance (flooding), and assistance with firefighting coordination and tactics for the Pullman Fire Department.

To develop its UAS program, police staff are collaborating with Matthew E. Taylor, an assistant professor at WSU’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Taylor specializes in artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics.

The Pullman PD is developing a drone policy that will be based on two factors: 1) best practices for authorized use of the UAS and 2) public input to address privacy concerns.

Public meetings have also been held over the past month, the department notes. A draft policy is available here.

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