Armed drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) used extensively in anti-terrorism activities and in the battlefields and, when unarmed, can meet the requirements of the police with ease to fight crimes. That is what the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) plans to do but the general reaction of the people appears to be against any move to program them for active policing duties. They fear that their use would translate into a loss of privacy and specific groups could be targeted.

Tentative plans of LAPD

The Los Angeles Times reports that the proposal of LAPD to fly drones is in the planning stage.

There would, initially, be a pilot program for one year and, the civilian Police Commission will have to sign off on the pilot program and define a policy for testing them before any of them can take to the air. A section of people feels that the pilot program would be a prelude to a situation where citizens will be under constant surveillance by the government.

Deployment of these machines would depend on the nature of task it has to perform like standoffs with hostage takers or barricaded suspects or bomb scares or shootings where the gunman is still active. In the opinion of officials, these devices would be a great help to investigating agencies for gathering crucial information on crimes and would not endanger human lives.

However, critics are apprehensive that they could be put to improper use.

Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala of the LAPD has assured that the approval of a high-ranking officer would be required for each operation and it would be documented for future reference. She also confirmed that the devices would not be armed.

Drones are useful

Drones are used by the military to flush out terrorists but, the technology can be suitably modified to cater to civil applications. Some online businesses are trying them out to deliver their products and there are instances of using them to locate missing hikers. Farmers use them to monitor their cattle grazing in the pastures and keep away thieves.

These are indicators of use in a modern day lifestyle and LAPD can benefit by using UAVs to monitor suspects. Using UAVs will be safe and not jeopardize the safety of officers and the citizens should treat them as a necessary evil meant to ensure the safety of the people.

Incidentally, the LAPD already has experience handling these unmanned aerial vehicles. The Seattle police had obtained Draganflyer X6 drones but those had to be put into cold storage due to public outcry.