LAPD takes another step toward deploying drones in controversial yearlong test

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The Los Angeles Police Department took another step toward using drones in some tactical situations after its civilian bosses Tuesday approved a $31,500 donation to purchase the controversial devices.

The LAPD has yet to fly any drones. The yearlong pilot program, approved by the Police Commission last fall, won’t begin until the department buys the drones and teaches officers how to use them.

The donation from the Los Angeles Police Foundation will go toward four drones, Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala told police commissioners at their weekly meeting Tuesday. Each are from DJI, a tech company specializing in drones with offices worldwide.

Girmala said the LAPD plans to use drones of varying sizes and capabilities: one small-sized, half-pound “Spark” model; two three-pound “Phantom” models; and a “Matrice” model that is the largest, weighing 10 pounds and measuring about 25 inches diagonally.


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