LASD Has Been Using a Drone, But Civilian Oversight Group Wants it Grounded

A sheriff's official holds the department's drone during an earlier commission meeting. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A sheriff's official holds the department's drone during an earlier commission meeting. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

In its first nine months, the $10,000 device has hovered over hard-to-reach spots in Los Angeles County, searching for gunmen and missing people.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials say the 20-inch-long unmanned aircraft system, equipped with a camera, has only been deployed five times out of the 1,000 events this year that could have used the special set of eyes.

But after months of public debate over possible surveillance and weaponization, the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission voted Thursday to call on the department to permanently ground its drone.

“The community has told us they’re already feeling over-policed and over-surveilled,” said Commissioner Priscilla Ocen, a Loyola Law School professor who’s been the most vocal opponent of the drone on the panel. She said the department’s search-and-rescue operation has done “an amazing job” for years, but can continue that work without the drone.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.