Hayward PD’s proposal for four drones is delayed

The Hayward Police Department’s bid to join a small group of East Bay cities that deploy Unmanned Aerial Systems, commonly known as drones, will be delayed after the Hayward City Council postponed a vote Tuesday night for its purchase.

Hayward city staff pulled the item prior to Tuesday night’s meeting following discussion of whether greater public vetting of the drone purchase is needed and if a specific privacy policy should be crafted prior to discussion of its purchase.

Some councilmembers had urged for the item to be sent to the Hayward PD’s Community Advisory Panel before returning to the council, Hayward City Manager Kelly McAdoo said.

“We need to have that conversation at the council-level so that the public can comment on about how we manage those types of technologies,” Councilmember Al Mendall said in support of greater public outreach.

While unmanned drones are increasingly cheap and reliable tools for local law enforcement, inherent distrust over the potential for surveillance and rules for data retention remains, particularly among minority groups.

The police department’s desire for deploying drones has been evident for more than a year. Several public outreach efforts occurred in the fall of 2019. In addition, Hayward’s Council Infrastructure Committee offered a recommendation for the City Council to approve the drone purchase back in October 2019, but also urged for greater public discussion and privacy rules.

Hayward PD estimates the initial cost of the drones and up to eight operating licenses would be up to $50,000, an expenditure well within its current budget, according to a staff report.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department has deployed unmanned drones for the past five years, but approval for its use was delayed after privacy activists pushed for specific guidelines and policies for its use and retention of data.

Union City and Newark also have drone programs. In some instances, Hayward PD has requested use of each jurisdiction’s drones for incidents in the city.

3 thoughts on “Hayward PD’s proposal for four drones is delayed

  1. Concerned Resident, your comments are well phrased. I have been a Hayward resident for the past 34 years. What has never changed is the institutional racism in HPD. The issue with the drones is not the technology but how it will be engaged. Until HPD presents a fully transparent set of rules of engagement for Drones, drones will continue to be abused by HPD. not all cops, but there are enough that the diverse members of our community are well aware of the abuses by uniformed and undercover officers. The problem is long standing and has contaminated everyone from the Police Chief to Explorers.

    HPD has not dealt with their criminal officers well. HPD does not notify local agencies, the state or the federal government that their officers have been terminated or released due to criminal racist actions. The City and HPD all conform rigidly to the Blue Line and defense of all officers. That action is nothing less than a promotion of racism.

    HPD needs to become transparent and actively engage in community policing. They need to put their feet on the beat and serve and protect our communities. They do not need more technology. They need more engagement with the community.

    The city of Hayward needs to insist on transparency in all respects and expand community engagement. Using armed officers to look for missing children or the elderly misses the real point. Put money in to the agencies that are trained to do it. No need for guns to be added.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I believe it is important to not put our own ideas of how something operates, let alone how it’s deployed, out there as if it were unquestionable facts. Has HPD had its fair share of troubled Officers? Sure. Have they been dealt with up to no longer being cops?sure, as newspapers have reported on it. However, to slam and distrust a whole department and/or an entire profession for a few bad apples, is the same as saying all criminals wear black hoodies. We all know the actions of a few or group of hoodie wearing crooks does not mean all who appear the same in attire are also crooks. We also should know that a bad officer in uniform does not mean all who wear the same uniform are bad people. How sad that this city halts the passing of a tool that will assist in catching criminals in turn help keep Hayward residents safe, but so easily approves yet another marijuana dispensary in downtown of all places. This is how the city plans to revitalize and bring shoppers and restaurants into our downtown? Looks like to me the city is only concerned about $$ than the quality of what is allowed to open in DT. You can have all the security you want but it doesn’t take away from the certain element such a place will attract to the area not too mention more crime to a city that already has an uphill struggle with the low number of Police Officers it has to patrol its streets. I think Drones would be a useful tool in preventing and fighting crime. Not to mention it could also be used to assist in locating a missing child or elderly, just to name a few. I guess common sense is not so common .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The drone fully equipped is a lot cheaper than a sworn officer. What is missing is the fact that there is a cost of the pilot of the drone. Someone has to pilot from the command center in a base. That is an officer not on the street as a part of the community. Additionally, the rules of engagement are not clear, have not been shared with the public. This whole opportunity calls for transparency. This is a department with more than its share of shame, from disgraced chiefs, arrests of officers who steal, as well as the murder of citizens. This needs to be thoroughly vetted by the community, not just the police and sheriff. This is another example of where money needs to be dedicated regionally from state funds and not a part of the city. Itg is a perfect representative of where the cost to fund this needs to come from the police and be removed from their control and set up to a transparent non-military group that covers the East Bay Corridor. Do not fund this with General Fund dollars or budgeted dollars.

    Liked by 1 person

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