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Redding City Council set to review RPD drone policies, protocols

The policies and guidelines made by the Redding Police Department for their drone program will be reviewed by the Redding city council Tuesday, May 15. evening.

The policies and guidelines made by the Redding Police Department for their drone program will be reviewed by the Redding City Council Tuesday evening, May 15.

The 'Unmanned Aerial Vehicle', also is known as "UAV", program was already approved by the city council.

On Tuesday, the council will review any updates that were made by the department on their policies and protocols for the using the drones.

Supervisor of the UAV program, Officer Chris Smyrnos said the policy includes certain types of scenarios and the requirements of when to use the drones, having an authorization from a supervisor on when to the fly them and documenting missions.

Officer Smyrnos said the UAVs would be used for bomb threats, potential SWAT incidents, traffic collisions, and search and rescue operations and so on.

He also explained that the department wants to make it clear that the purpose of the UAVs is to enhance public safety and not to infringe on peoples' privacy.

"Our UAV use is not going to be for any type of random patrols or random surveillance activities. [That's] actually expressly prohibited by our policy. We can't use them to target anybody based upon federally prohibited classes, for example, gender, race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and so on. Obviously, we're not going to use them to target people," said Smyrnos.

He said they are in the process of training eight officers to be operators and they have purchased three drones.

Bethel Church in Redding donated $25,000 to the department to purchase the drones, the equipment and help with the training.

Officer Smyrnos says nothing is set in stone yet until they're approved by the Redding City Council and the Federal Aviation Association (FAA).

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