Who Will Police Police Drones?

Image: Axon, Shutterstock

The Police Foundation doesn’t want the police to call drones “drones.” Because of the public’s association with “military-style weapons like the Predator,” the organization’s 311 page report reads, the term “drone” is “a major obstacle to law enforcement’s ability to convince the public” that police drone programs “could actually increase public safety, not jeopardize it.”

Instead, the report—“Community Policing and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): Guidelines to Enhance Community Trust,” published in 2016—suggests the clunky “Unmanned Aircraft System” as an alternative. UAS was coined by the Department of Defense in 2001, now repurposed by police, to make military weapons more palatable.

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To market the drone as part of a public safety system instead of a weapon, the first step is to

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