Police agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area have shown an increased interest in using drones for various operations, though the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other privacy advocates aren't amused.
The Alameda County Sheriff's office purchased two drones last year for about $97,000, citing an interest in using them for disaster response and search-and-rescue operations.
"Through our research we learned that a small, unmanned aircraft can support first responders in situations which would benefit from an aerial perspective, and that by having it could expose dangers that could otherwise not be seen," said Tom Madigan, Alameda County Sheriff's Office captain, told Bloomberg News. "That's what triggered our interest."
Meanwhile, the San Jose Police Department purchased a drone for $7,000, and is meeting with the public and privacy advocates regarding how it would be used. The ACLU alleges that Alameda County and San Jose purchased drones without adequate input from the public, despite serious privacy and surveillance worries.