For more than three years, a pair of drones donated to the Los Angeles Police Department were locked away, collecting dust after a public outcry over the idea of police using the controversial technology.
Seattle police saw a similar backlash when they wanted to use the devices, grounding their drone program before it even took off. And recently, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's use of a drone has been criticized by activists as well as civilian oversight commissioners who want the agency to stop.
On Tuesday, the LAPD again waded into the heated debate, as department brass proposed testing an "unmanned aerial system" during a one-year pilot program.
Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala told the Police Commission that the idea was to use a small drone to help officers during certain types of incidents, such as and reports of potential bombs or active shooters. The devices, she said, could help gather crucial information as such situations unfold, without putting officers at risk.