OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Alameda County Sheriff's Department is hoping to become one of the handful of local law enforcement agencies that have received federal clearance to use unmanned aerial drones to fight crime, a goal that already is arousing concerns among privacy advocates.
Civil liberties and privacy groups revealed Thursday that Sheriff Greg Ahern is seeking Department of Homeland Security funding to buy a small remote-controlled drone called a Dragon Fly. If the money comes through and the Federal Aviation Administration permits the department to test the device, Alameda would be the first public safety agency in California to deploy technology first developed for spying on U.S. enemies overseas.
A memo that one of Ahern's captains prepared over the summer, obtained by the Freedom of Information Act web site MuckRock, says the drone would be equipped with a long-distance camera, live video downlink and infrared sensors that could be used for monitoring bomb threats, fires, unruly crowds, search and rescue operations, and marijuana grows. Read More