McGinn Ends Police Drone Efforts

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File photo of a drone. (credit: PIERRE ANDRIEU/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a drone. (credit: PIERRE ANDRIEU/AFP/Getty Images)

SEATTLE (AP) — The mayor of Seattle is ending the police department’s drone program after local residents protested.

Mayor Mike McGinn announced Thursday the Seattle Police Department will not use two small drones it obtained through a federal grant. McGinn says the unmanned aerial vehicles will be returned to the vendor.

The police department previously said the drones would be used to provide an overhead view of large crime scenes, serious accidents, disasters, and search and rescue operations. It said they wouldn’t carry weapons or be used for random surveillance.

The program drew strong criticism from residents at a City Council meeting Wednesday. The council was considering an ordinance giving police the authority to use drones.

The mayor’s decision comes as the use of drones draws national attention. Lawmakers in more than 10 states are looking at plans to restrict the use of drones amid concerns they could be exploited to spy on Americans.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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