Police to Get Drones in Pilot Program

A drone with a camera attached for taking photographs from the air. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

A pilot program will see 20 drones distributed in the coming days to police stations around the country, the first step in an effort to equip all stations with at least one drone. The program begins after a three-year discussion period, in which the role of drones and the rules on how they are to be used were hammered out by police and government officials.

Among those rules are strict measures as to how they can be used, ensuring privacy. The vehicles will be used in a similar manner as police helicopters, taking aerial footage of crime scenes and being dispatched in the event of a criminal or terrorist running away. They will not be used to taking images of venues where no crime has been reported, and images of individuals who are not suspects in a particular crime will be destroyed.

The distribution comes after an eight-month pilot program in which several drones were used in “test runs” to examine how they could best be used, police said. Speaking to Yisrael Hayom, Gadi Weiner, the police official in charge of the program, said that the drones will be used by stations as the chiefs of each station or department see fit, within the parameters laid down. “The drone is an excellent tool to provide an overview of a situation from the air, or for use in searching for missing people, providing a bird’s-eye view of demonstrations and protests, assisting police in ensuring the public order, and more. The drones will increase the effectiveness and capabilities of police.”