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Police Department Drone Use Approved By Council

It’s a bird, it’s a plane — no, it’s a drone — and the Oakdale City Council just voted 5-0 in favor at the recent Dec. 4 meeting, granting the Oakdale Police Department authorization to use them in a neighborhood near you.

Oakdale Police Chief Scott Heller came before City Council at the Monday, Dec. 4 meeting to proceed with plans to implement an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) program within the city limits in an attempt to give law enforcement a bird’s eye view on crime.

According to the language of the resolution, the Oakdale Police Department can deploy the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) at their discretion for specific operations, including but not limited to:

Capturing video and photographic evidence from overhead scenes and serious collision scenes.

Missing person searches in challenging terrain.

Searches for fleeing suspects.

To enhance officer safety during search warrants.

In response to privacy concerns, the UAVs are not intended to be used as random surveillance tools and the department has established a policy with specific requirements when the UAV is activated.

Each time a UAV is deployed, all operations-related footage will be recorded and stored with consistent with the current protocols used for body-cameras. The officers trained to use the UAV will commit to ongoing training and certification requirements.


Funding for the program will come from the police department’s existing operating and capital outlay budgets. Start-up costs are estimated to be $2,500, which will include equipment and training.