Seattle cops want more drones to match the ones it doesn't use

Seattle police want to spend at least $150,000 on more drone aircraft—even though they've got two they don't use.

Beyond conducting limited training exercises, SPD has never deployed the two drones it purchased in 2010 for $82,000. Furthermore, SPD department has no clear policy outlining how drones can be deployed in the field.

You just know that the chief of police sits there all day looking at Tactical Pens on Amazon, even though he's already got one in his pencil case.

Seattle police seek more drones while two sit unused [Muck Rock]



  1. They’re just being prepared for the inevitable. SPD is a useless sinkhole, and the city has been overrun by this criminal union gang.

      1. Except that the city is pretty darn safe and hasn’t been overrun by actual gangs (not that it has a ton to do with the SPD.)

    1. whoa… someone didn’t like their triple tall mocha this morning.

      from someone who’s lived in seattle  well…forever, i can at least suggest that there are other areas of the country with slightly worse police departments and this might be just a tiny bit of a hyperbolic characterization. 

      as to granting any police department unrestricted use of drone technology; i wouldn’t trust even the best in the country.

  2. It’s not a huge mystery why they haven’t been deployed so far:

    The FAA’s 2011 authorization (effective through April 2012) limited SPD drones to fly at altitudes below 400 feet within a quarter nautical mile of either Discovery Park or Magnuson Park, or within a half nautical mile of Jackson Cove. 
    The 2011 FAA certification also restricted SPD to operating its drones only within sight of a trained visual observer, and banned flying drones over “populated areas, heavily trafficked roads, or an open-air assembly of people.

     Presumably the department isn’t going to update its guidelines until the FAA opens up more of the city.

    1. Alas, a reasoned interpretation of the available data would have rendered the tactical pens gag a non sequitur, so…

  3. Yet another example of the Homeland Security Dash For Cash.  Departments are militarizing and stockpiling goodies whether they need them or not, whether they are even allowed to use them or not.

    No problem if these drones are obsolete by the time SPD is able to fly them; the taxpayer will buy shiny, new ones, whether they want to or not.  It’s not like they can protest or anything, at least not without being pepper sprayed (by spray that they payed for) and labeled a terrorist.

    1. Vote down the city budget, numbskull.  It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, the spooks will pepper spray you in your bed.  VOTE dangit, VOTE.

      1.  How will that help anything? You think police funding, and projects like this, are likely to be the first on the chopping block? Or even on the chopping block at all?

        Not in my experience – when city budgets get cut, it’s the community services that suffer. Some cities seem like they would rather shut the whole thing down than take a dime away from enforcement.

      2. Voting down the city budget will take police off the streets.  It will not stop police militarization which is mandated and payed for on the federal level.

        1. If that were true, ALL cities would have ALL equipment. There is a governance process. If you don’t like what’s going down, jump in. Convince others to stand with you. Make your complaints known.

  4. Tax dollars shouldn’t be spent on PBS, economic recovery, etc but toys for police departments? No prob.

  5. “these drones don’t even shoot! How are we supposed to try out our new “Shock and Awe” policing procedure on the citizenry with UNARMED drones?”

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