Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Thursday that his agency will begin deploying an unmanned aerial device to aid deputies responding to arson scenes, suspected bombs and hostage situations, but he promised the device would not be used to surveil residents.
“The dangers of law enforcement can never be eliminated,” he said. “However, this technology can assist us in reducing the impact of risks on personnel.”
Eight deputies have been trained to fly the device, according to Capt. Jack Ewell of the department’s special operations bureau. The device can remain in the air for 20 minutes and fly up to a mile from the deputy controlling it; but under Federal Aviation Administration rules, Sheriff’s Department personnel must maintain visual contact with the device while flying it, Ewell told the Los Angeles Times.