Colorado police plan deployment of drones to answer 911 dispatches

DENVER, CO - Colorado law enforcement officials are reportedly planning to use drones as first responders to 911 calls in the near future. Even the Denver Police Department, which banned the use of drones in 2018, is joining the trend.

According to Fox News, twenty separate agencies in the Front Range region of Colorado have used drones to accomplish tasks such as fugitive tracking, search and rescue, and crime scene mapping, roles normally reliant upon helicopter crews. However, now the sheriffs are mulling the use of drones to respond to 911 calls where they could provide useful information on site prior to officers rolling out.
“This really is the future of law enforcement at some point, whether we like it or not,” Sgt. Jeremiah Gates of the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office told The Denver Post.

While the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office is in the "very early stages" of considering an expansion to its drone deployments Gates told reporters he can imagine drones being dispatched for lesser priority calls such as a broken traffic light or suspicious vehicle report, freeing up deputies to more critical duties.
“I could fly the drone over (a reported suspicious vehicle) and say, ‘Hey, that vehicle is not out of place,’ and I never had to send an officer over to bother them and I can clear it with that,” he said. “It’s saving resources.”

In March the Boulder Police Department even posted a recruiting video to X telling the story of Officer Richie Steidell, formerly of the U.S. Coast Guard who now serves on the U.A.S. (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) team at the Boulder PD and highlighting his drone work.
  Not everyone shares Sgt. Gate's enthusiasm, though. The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado's staff attorney Laura Moraff expressed alarm to the Post explaining, “We’re worried about what it would mean if drones were really just all over the skies in Colorado. We are worried about what that would mean for First Amendment activities, for speech and organizing and protesting — because being surveilled by law enforcement, including by drones, can change the way people speak and protest.”

From more conservative sources, such as commentator and talk host Andrew Wilkow a whole different criticism of the move from Denver PD is being levied in light of recent police budget cuts.

Wilkow wrote on X, "Denver cut it's police budget to fund the illegal border jumpers demands. If you are a tax paying citizen and call 911.....a flying toy is coming."
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