California City Finds Success in Program Easing Rules on Police Drones

Since the Chula Vista Police Department began using drones this week to respond to 911 incidents, their use in 30 calls has led to three arrests, including one for felony domestic violence. In that case, a drone hovered above a canyon where a stabbing suspect was hiding out. The drone broadcast live footage to police officers’ cellphones, helping them negotiate brush and difficult terrain to get to the man.

Chula Vista’s drones are part of a pilot program between the Federal Aviation Administration and the cities of Chula Vista and San Diego. The program allows the Chula Vista Police Department to test drones and relay data back to the FAA as the federal agency rewrites regulations. The FAA gave the police department permission to fly drones at night and above people and traffic during emergencies.

Some of the regulations the FAA is considering changing is to allow drones to be flown

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