YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The police department is forming a policy to use drones.
Under a draft of the policy, which was unveiled Monday at a City Council Safety Committee meeting, the department would have a total of 12 drones, according to Lt. Brian Welsh, head of the department’s Traffic Unit.
Welsh said two of the drones would be more fully equipped than the others and would be stored at the station to be used in circumstances such as a homicide investigation or SWAT situation.
There would be two in case one was in use and another was needed. They would be equipped with infrared sensors, also.
The other 10 drones would be divided up among the city’s patrol division to be used by officers in the field, Welsh said. They could be used for things such as search and rescue, he said.
Officers who volunteer to use the drones must also undergo FAA training to receive a pilot’s license, Welsh said. He learned through the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation that officers can take an online program to receive the license, which would greatly reduce the cost.
Also, a strict policy is being formulated that a search warrant must be obtained any time a drone is used in a residential area unless a supervisor on the scene determines that there is an emergency.
The total estimated cost with training and equipment is almost $28,000.
There is no timeline as to when the drones will be purchased. Committee members said they need to do a lot more research.