Despite Privacy Concerns, Drones Are Now a Permanent Part of LAPD’s Arsenal

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Los Angeles Police SWAT officer Tom Chinappi is pictured at a news conference held in January 2019 to announce the department’s first use of a drone. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Police SWAT officer Tom Chinappi is pictured at a news conference held in January 2019 to announce the department’s first use of a drone. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

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Drones became a permanent part of the Los Angeles Police Department’s crime-fighting arsenal Tuesday, despite opposition from privacy advocates who fear the remote-controlled aircraft will be used to spy on people.

In a yearlong trial, the LAPD’s SWAT team deployed drones four times, mostly when suspects were barricaded and the device provided a bird’s eye view of the property’s nooks and crannies.

On Tuesday, the five-member civilian Police Commission unanimously approved new regulations that enshrine the drones’ use in specific situations, including active shooters, barricaded suspects and search warrants.

The drones will not be equipped with weapons or facial recognition software, according to the regulations, which are similar to those governing the trial program.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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