Drone Purchase In Alameda County Sparks Outrage

Sheriff promises drone won't be bought until after public input

By Chris Roberts
|  Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012  |  Updated 3:31 PM PDT
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The very first drone used for law enforcement purposes in California may soon be purchased by the Alameda County sheriff's department.

The sheriff received a grant through the California Emergency Management Agency for $31,646 to buy a drone. On Tuesday, attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union held a press conference to voice their outrage over privacy concerns, the Oakland Tribune reported.

The drone purchase could be approved as soon as early next year, the newspaper reported. Three different companies submitted bids in response to an August request for proposals, the East Bay Citizen reported. All cost more than the $31,646 grant.

The sheriff has been accused of "sneaking" the drone buy into the agenda for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors Tuesday meeting, according to the newspaper. The sheriff insisted that no drone will be purchased without a public process, but the Oakland Tribune reported that there is nothing legally stopping the sheriff from buying the drone.

No guidelines from federal officials rule the use of drones. The Seattle Police Department has a drone, the newspaper reported.

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