The Board of Fire Commissioners Tuesday heard a report on a Los Angeles Fire Department plan to add a fleet of drones to its ranks to help assess significant incidents and gather information during large fires.
The report stems from a 2016 City Council motion asking for the department to explore the feasibility of launching a drone program. If approved, the LAFD would become one of the first major metropolitan fire departments to have a significant drone program.
Drones operated by municipalities have proven to be controversial due to concerns over privacy and the fact they could be used to conduct surveillance on residents. The Los Angeles Police Department received two drones in 2014 that were donated but has dropped any current plans to deploy them due to public objections.
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The LAFD report addresses the issue of privacy concerns and said they would not be used to monitor or provide surveillance for law enforcement.
The report did not estimate the cost of the drone pilot program but said that the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation has offered to fund its operating costs.