The San Jose Police Department will take the next step in getting public input on deploying the drone it acquired from the Department of Homeland Security. On Saturday, a public outreach meeting will be held from 10am-12pm at City Hall.
A national project by the Vice-sponsored outlet Muckrock first published information about SJPD's purchase of the drone—also referred to as a Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)—in July. Within two weeks, after outcries from privacy advocates, the department admitted it could have handled the process better, which led several local media outlets to incorrectly report the admission as an apology.
“In hindsight, SJPD should have done a better job of communicating the purpose and acquisition of the UAS device to our community,” SJPD said in a statement. “The community should have the opportunity to provide feedback, ask questions, and express their concerns before we move forward with this project. To this end, we will first develop a community outreach plan before we take steps to deploy the UAS.”
According to a new department press release, SJPD is not currently using its drone. Here is how it spelled out its process in acquiring the device
"Earlier in 2014, the Police Department obtained one UAS, specifically for the SJPD Bomb Unit. The UAS is a Century NEO 660 Hex-Rotor which has a Go-Pro camera for aerial video footage. The UAS is 3 feet wide and 1.5 feet tall.
"If and when policies and procedures are drafted and finalized, the SJPD would ensure the UAS usage would be compliant with FAA regulations, federal and state law. The SJPD would also obtain a Certificate of Authorization (COA) from the FAA prior to using the UAS."
A Power Point presentation was given at a Nov. 13 Neighborhoods Commission meeting, and Saturday's presentation will include a discussion of proposed uses for the drone followed by a question and answer period.
WHAT: SJPD outreach meeting on drone
WHEN: 10am-12pm Saturday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose (Committee Room 120)