San Diego

Chula Vista Police Department Could Deploy Drones in Field as Soon as July

CVPD maintains that its drones will not be used for random surveillance.

Soon the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) will be added to the long list of departments across the country using drones to help better protect their community.

CVPD is in the final stages of research and training before deploying drones in the field. They could be seen as early as July, according to a department release.

The drones, equipped with cameras, will assist officers and the Chula Vista Fire Department in “critical incidents” like searching for missing persons, traffic collisions or wildfires.

“These drones will help make things safer for the community and enhance our response, as well as being a cost saving measure,” said Drone Coordinator, Lt. Chris Kelley.

Drone pilots will be coursed on weather conditions, air traffic control procedures, and safety and maintenance before being tested by the Federal Aviation Administration.

CVPD maintains that its drones will not be used for random surveillance, and the department will be required to obtain consent or a search warrant to use the drones in areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

A draft of the department's policies and procedures for drone use is available to the public.

The public is urged to offer their feedback on the drone program and can do so on the Frequently Asked Questions page of the CVPD website. You can also email the department.

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