Evanston police quietly maintained an unreleased internal policy regarding the use of drones, according to a document obtained by Lucy Parsons Labs.
The document [PDF], entitled “Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Operations” and dated July 25, 2018, lays out departmental guidelines for the use of drones. It is included in the department’s standard policy manual.
The Evanston Police Department’s policy was created without public knowledge or debate in a community that was an early leader in preventing the rush to drones by law enforcement.
In May 2013, the Evanston City council passed a resolution banning drones for two years. That ban specifically included police, stating, “Police departments have begun to deploy drone technology absent any regulation on the appropriate use of such technology, although the Evanston Police Department has not.” That moratorium expired in 2015.
Since the lapse of Evanston’s drone ban, police use of drones has become