Avoiding Ethical Landmines: Gaining Acceptance of Your UAS Drone Program

Avoiding Ethical Landmines: Gaining Acceptance of Your UAS Drone Program
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2023-03-14
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Avoiding Ethical Landmines: Gaining Acceptance of Your UAS Drone Program
Unit 2Transcript: Avoiding Ethical Landmines: Gaining Acceptance of Your UAS Drone Program
Unit 3Workbook: Avoiding Ethical Landmines: Gaining Acceptance of Your UAS Drone Program
Unit 4Recording: Avoiding Ethical Landmines: Gaining Acceptance of Your UAS Drone Program

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) better known as drones are being adopted by more and more public safety agencies to improve first responder service. But given that it is still a relatively new technology – coming up with a comprehensive UAS program may come as a challenge for the agencies. This webinar walks us through all the factors to take into account and potential community concerns when implementing a UAS program.

This session’s instructor is Don Redmond. He is a retired Captain from the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) in California where a successful UAS program has been in effect since 2018. He is currently the Vice President of Advanced Public Safety Projects for BRINC Drones.

Specifics of his discussion are on:

  • The importance of transparency and trust in a UAS program.
  • The different uses of drones from traditional tactical deployment, mapping and diagramming, indoor and tethered drones to more innovative use in the case of Drone as First Responder (DFR) and Payload Drones.
  • Basic FAA regulation guidelines in terms of how agencies can get started with flying drones.
  • How privacy tends to be the common issue for communities when it comes to UAS program implementation and ways to resolve these concerns by:
    • First figuring out the use of the drones and having a digital trust plan that lays out the scope and limitations of the UAS program.
    • Beginning a UAS committee made up of all stakeholders to outline the policy and practices within the UAS program.
    • Notifying the community of the intention to implement a UAS program and explaining its benefits as well as its cost-efficiency in lieu of a helicopter program.
    • Addressing common privacy concerns and community feedback.
  • A rundown of legal and ethical issues to consider in a UAS program.
    • Facial recognition, zoom, and listening capability and the possibility of these being used to violate privacy rights.
    • License plate readers, GPS tracking, and thermal capabilities to follow vehicles and individuals which would usually require a warrant.
    • The ability for drones to issue tickets to speeding vehicles.
    • Continuous airborne or surveillance state use – including an example when this was used in the past and created a problem for the agency.
    • The possibility of arming drones in case of active shooter or pursuit scenarios.
    • Concerns regarding posting drone flight footage publicly.
    • The risks that come with the use of foreign-made drones within US law enforcement and workarounds available for agencies that already have UAS programs and are using foreign-made drones.
    • Informing the media about the implementation of a UAS program and its policy and use.
    • The use of drones during protests and non-law-enforcement purposes.
    • Drone footage recording and retention considerations raised by community members to look into.
  • CVPD’s experience creating their UAS program from inception, policy creation and procurement, to implementation, use, video recording and retention, and community feedback.
  • Efforts that agencies must embark on to engage the community online and offline on how a UAS program can benefit the entire community and uphold transparency, trust, and public safety
  • Valuable resources for agencies looking at implementing their own UAS program.

Topics raised during the Q&A are about:

  • The most common objection communities have when it comes to the UAS program.
  • The critical first steps to take when adopting a UAS program.
  • How the PIO and social media manager can help engage the community in the UAS program and its benefits.
  • The size and composition of the UAS committee.
  • Risks and considerations when using foreign-made drones.
  • The time period drone footage should be retained.



Webinars with this Presenter


Click here to view and register for other upcoming Law Enforcement webinars on the JCH Platform.


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “New to the knowledge of drones, good overview.” — Cheryl
  • “Some of the ethical concerns regarding drone usage.” — Don
  • “A very good webinar.” — DIANA
  • “Different uses for the drone, how to integrate it within the community.” — Maritza
  • “Great overall presentation with good suggestions.” — Michael
  • Many excellent tips. Thank’s — Robert
  • webinar reinforced how we do what we do — Sam
Additional Resources
1 year ago
After the Webinar: Avoiding Ethical Landmines. Q&A with Don Redmond
Webinar presenter Don Redmond answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Avoiding E […]
1 year ago
Online Course: Everyday Ethics: Developing and Maintaining Individual and Agency Ethics
As a professional in criminal justice, we are used to the “letter of the law”: things are legal, […]
2 years ago
Pre-Flight Checklist to a UAS Program: It Is Not about the Drones
The benefits of technology for the law enforcement profession have been undeniable In their mission […]
2 years ago
Launching Your Agency’s Drone Program: From Planning to Take Off
The idea of drones being used in law enforcement can raise privacy concerns from the citizens. Howev […]
3 years ago
Get Your Drone Program Off The Ground: SGIs/COAs, LAANC, Situational Awareness At Your Fingertips
Public Safety agencies around the world are embracing drones to help save lives and property - quick […]
6 years ago
Thoughts about Ethics from our Speaker Dr. Jeff Fox, PhD
"Ethics must be taught throughout the career...not just at the beginning." Such an insightful and […]