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The Vallejo Police Department is expanding its drone program in an effort to reduce crime within the city.
Officials said the department’s Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Tech Team is equipped with five pilots, all trained and certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.
“As our program evolves, our priority remains streamlining the program and policies to increase transparency and provide our community with a better understanding of drone technology and public safety benefits,” said department Spokeswoman Brittany K. Jackson in a news release. “The expansion of the VPD’s program will include outreach to community stakeholders, advisory boards and privacy groups like the ALCU to ensure privacy and civil liberty concerns are addressed.”
Officials said the drones are equipped with an onboard computer and video camera. They are operated by pilots on the ground.
In the same announcement, the department lauded use of a drone which assisted in the arrest of a man following his involvement in a domestic violence incident. Officers responded to calls of a man with a gun on July 13 in the 1100 block of North Camino Alto.
“When they arrived, officers were advised that the suspect was seen running toward apartments in the area. Officers parked at a neighboring location to launch the drone and were able to locate and guide responding units to the armed suspect,” Jackson added in the same news release. “A gun was ultimately recovered from the suspect, who was arrested and booked into the Solano County Jail. The drone provided a bird’s eye view, allowing officers to prepare, act with more precision, and safely take the suspect into custody.”