Seattle To Build Its (Unused) Drone Fleet, Rescinds Usage Guidelines

More toys, no rules


The Seattle Police Department plans to expand its drone program over the next year with the purchase of two additional units, documents released to MuckRock indicate. The additional drones would cost SPD at least $150,000. But beyond conducting limited training exercises, SPD has never deployed the two drones it purchased in 2010 for $82,000. Furthermore, SPD has no clear policy outlining how drones can be deployed in the field.

Following public concern over the revelation that it purchased two surveillance drones in 2010, the Seattle Police Department has assured the public that it will deploy its Draganfly X6 units solely for training and evaluation "until appropriate policies for use are developed and approved." However, SPD rescinded its policy on deploying unmanned aerial systems (UASs) after less than a month on the books, without drafting any replacement guidelines.