In September, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department began a one-year pilot program that includes four camera-equipped drones. Despite urging from the ACLU that the Sheriff’s Department first seek input from the public and the County Board of Supervisors, it did neither.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department had a new eye in the sky during an Oct. 13 standoff.
A man who poured gasoline on himself refused to leave his truck after leading law enforcement on a chase through North County. Deputies surrounded the suspect not far from Pala Casino, guns drawn. Several hours passed.
Looking for a closer view, the Sheriff’s Department debuted its new drone, which it acquired as part of a one-year pilot program that quietly began in September. The live footage aided a SWAT team in developing a tactical plan before approaching, and then apprehending the suspect, a Sheriff’s Department spokesman said.
But the pilot program, which includes four camera-equipped drones, has flown under the public’s radar.
It didn’t go before an elected body and community meetings weren’t held, flying in the face of earlier advice from the local ACLU chapter.