Office of Inspector General to House Two Unmanned Aerial Vehicles While Policy is Reviewed

September 15, 2014

Los Angeles:  On May 29, 2014, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) received two Draganflyer X Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) from the Seattle Police Department, which initially purchased these vehicles using federal grant funds. The UAV’s were placed into the custody of a federal law enforcement agency pending the development of policies and protocols governing their use by the LAPD including outreach and community engagement with stakeholders and the approval by the Board of Police Commissioners (Commission). The federal law enforcement agency having custody of the UAV’s was contacted by the LAPD to arrange transfer of the devices to the Commission since the LAPD has begun their community outreach and process for drafting of policies and protocols for consideration by the Commission.

On Friday, September 12, 2014 late in the afternoon, at the direction of Commission President Steve Soboroff, the two UAV’s were transferred to the care and custody of the Office of the Inspector General where they will remain until the LAPD presents to the Commission draft policies and procedures which reflect public input.

President Soboroff stated, "I want to assure all that there has been no decision that UAV’s will be utilized in the City of Los Angeles.  There will be no deployment of these vehicles until the Commission completes a thorough review of the proposed policies and protocols. The proposed policies and protocols will be reviewed publicly by the Commission and the public will have opportunities to address the Commission directly with their concerns."

Inspector General Alexander Bustamante stated, "The Commission has transferred the two Unmanned Aerial Vehicles into my custody. These two vehicles will be secured in my offices, and I will not release them to anyone, including the LAPD, until and unless the Commission authorizes their release. In the meantime, these two UAV’s will not be used or operated in any manner."

It is anticipated that the draft policies and protocols prepared by the LAPD will be considered by the Commission at public meetings in approximately six months.