in , , ,

Oceanside police want to buy tethered drone. ‘We used to climb a hill with a pair of binoculars.’

The Oceanside Police Department wants to buy its first tethered drone, an eye in the sky that could stay aloft for 24 hours or longer with a lightweight cable connection to the ground.

“This drone has a complex camera payload that allows for the streaming of video to a ground station and other remote users, (with) both high-power zoom and thermal capability,” states a city staff report.

“Additionally, this drone is supported by a fixed cable spool ‘tether’ that transmits uninterrupted power up (to) 300 feet to the drone, eliminating the need to land every 20 to 30 minutes to change batteries,” states the report presented to the city’s Police and Fire Commission on Thursday.

The tethered drone could be used for special events such as the annual Ironman triathlon, surf competitions, and holiday festivities such as July Fourth in large public spaces.

“It also will have a tactical application and will be used in high-risk events where constant observation is critical to community safety such as public demonstrations and other large, critical events,” the report states.

“I’m all for the program and its technology,” said police Capt. Sean Marchand. “We used to climb a hill with a pair of binoculars … the benefits (of the drone) totally outweigh anything that could be negative.”

The department has 12 officers qualified to use drones, and they can only be deployed with one of the department’s two qualified supervisors on the premises, Marchand said.

The commission voted 8-1 to recommend the City Council’s approval.

Commissioner Karen Glover, appointed to the commission in January, voted no. She said she had concerns about privacy and how the recorded video might be stored and shared.

The ACLU acknowledges drones can be beneficial in things such as search-and-rescue missions, mapping and scientific research. However, it recommends limits on surveillance, with a written policy approved by oversight agencies in place.

Police Chief Fred Armijo said his department will follow the video policy approved by the Oceanside City Council. It specifies who has access to the material and when, the uses for it and how long it will be stored.

The department was awarded a $239,134 grant in August 2022 from the federal Urban Area Security Initiative to purchase the system. The initiative funding requires the device to be available to other agencies in the area for similar uses.

Commissioner Rob Howard questioned the cost of the system. The Police Department asked to purchase it from Elistair, Inc. of Stoughton, Mass., for $235,710. The only other bid was $136,890 from Roberts Communications Consulting, LLC, of Annapolis, Md.

“What’s the difference in the bid, to be off by $100,000?” Howard asked. “That’s a huge gap.”

Key information was left out of the Roberts Communications bid, Armijo said, but he did not share specifics.

Advancing technology and lower prices have led to a proliferation of drones, and law enforcement agencies across the United States are adopting them rapidly.

Agencies across San Diego County have been using battery-powered drones for several years, but the Oceanside Police Department could be the first to try the tethered technology.

Oceanside acquired its first drone in 2018, and most other police departments in the county have them.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department became the first agency in the county to use battery-powered drones for surveillance in 2016, and has used them in homicide investigations, SWAT incidents and search-and-rescue missions. A spokesperson said Friday the department has no tethered ones.

San Diego Police Department’s media office did not respond to an email Friday asking about tethered drones.

Drones fall under the provisions of AB 481, a law that took effect last year requiring law enforcement agencies to publicly declare all military-style equipment in their inventories.

It also requires governing bodies such as the City Council to approve the purchase of anything considered military equipment, which covers a wide range of weapons and tactical devices.

Source link

What do you think?

Written by Townreels


Leave a Reply

      GPT-4 lists twenty jobs it can ‘potentially replace’ | Trending

      bengaluru: Renting flats in Bengaluru? You may need strong LinkedIn profile