LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Police Department announced Friday they received two drones as gifts from the Seattle Police Department, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Draganflyer X6 aircraft are 3-feet wide — equipped with a camera, video camera and night-vision capabilities.
Department officials made it clear LAPD does not plan on using the “unmanned aerial vehicles” to keep watch over an unsuspecting public, the Times reported.
If used at all, the aircraft will be called on for “narrow and prescribed uses,” according to a statement from LAPD.
LAPD Commander Andrew Smith told the Times that would include situations like barricaded suspects or hostages.
“We wanted to be really up-front with the public that we’re looking at using these down the road,” Smith told the Times. “We wanted to make sure it didn’t look like we were trying to sneak these things into action.”
The department avoided calling the aircraft “drones” because of the negative connotation the word has taken following increasing privacy concerns.
Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California, praised the LAPD for being up-front about the new hardware. He also told the Times he has concerns about the department using them — even in a limited fashion. The potential for abuse, he said, was high.
Villagra highlighted news reports showing Seattle officials abandoned the idea of using the aircraft after a public outcry.