**Media note** BPD will offer interviews and a demonstration of the UAV at 1:00 pm on October 3, 2018 at City Hall West. Please contact the BPD Media Line if interested in attending.
The Boise Police Department has purchased four unmanned aerial vehicles to improve emergency response, expedite crime scene investigations and increase citizen safety and officer safety. Four Boise Police officers have been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and possess the FAA Remote Pilot certification. BPD has also received a Certificate of Authorization from the FAA to operate in Boise’s Class C controlled airspace. Over the last year, BPD has gathered and evaluated Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) policies from other agencies and developed policies and procedures for BPD. We have presented the policy to the Chief’s Community Advisory Panel for discussion and comment and received legal assistance to ensure it is in accord with applicable state and federal laws, rules and regulations.
“The Boise Police Department has thought long and hard about the best use for unmanned aerial vehicles in Boise and how to balance both community needs with community concerns,” said Boise Police Chief William Bones. “Our policy allows us to use a UAV to increase officer and citizen safety, be cost-effective public servants, and do so while not infringing on citizen’s right to privacy.”
One use in the future for a UAV will be to expedite traffic investigations and reduce the time roads need to be closed after a serious or fatal crash. A UAV will also be used for large crime-scene mapping and during emergency responses for safety and search and rescue operations.
For example, currently a Boise Fire Department ladder truck is used to facilitate aerial images of a crash scene. By using a UAV to take photos and video, we will be able to obtain information and measurements much quicker than through traditional investigative methods. A UAV can also be used during hazardous incidents involving officers. Additional examples of times when officers would use a UAV include searching for a barricaded subject or a missing child, or simply being able to more safely respond to burglar alarms.
“The UAV program will have substantial safety benefits to our officers in the field as they search for suspects who would do them or the public harm,” said Boise Police Chief William Bones. “We are being careful to map out specific uses for the UAV and will not be using it for things like traffic enforcement or non-emergency surveillance missions without a search warrant.”
Many of our law enforcement partners around the state and the country use unmanned aerial vehicles. BPD is committed to reviewing the policy as needed and maintaining citizen’s reasonable expectation to privacy. The UAV Unit shall only be activated at the request of, or with the approval of a BPD supervisor.