Spokane City Council ordinance proposes limiting drones




Posted on June 17, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 18 at 11:02 AM

SPOKANE, Wash.--The Spokane City Council President said Monday that he wants to make sure you are not in the dark if police ever decide to buy a drone. The Federal Aviation Administration opens air space for drones in two years.

The Seattle Police Department tested drones in early 2013. Seattle's mayor ordered the police department to abandon its plan to use drones after residents and privacy advocates protested. Mayor Mike McGinn said the department will not use two small drones it obtained through a federal grant. The unmanned aerial vehicles were returned to the vendor, he said.

The drones fly and contain small cameras.
Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub said he has not yet considered the technology for Spokane. Yet, City Council President Ben Stuckart wants the public to be aware if Straub should decide to test or use drones.

“Frankly if I started seeing drones above us, I would be quite disturbed as a citizen and city council member,” said Stuckart.

The City Council President has drafted an ordinance which will prevent the police department or any city office from purchasing a drone without a public meeting to notify citizens. The Spokane Police Department must provide the city council with an operational plan of how they plan to use it.

The final decision will then be up to the city council to vote and decide whether or not to allow the purchase.

“It basically allows the public to have input on the process,” said Stuckart.

Straub said he supports the proposed ordinance.