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Federal Authorities Approve New Orleans Police Drone Use

The Department of Justice approved the drone policy Tuesday, a decision New Orleans police say allows them to deploy drones in specific scenarios as a "more efficient, cost-effective and safer alternative."

drones
(TNS) — The New Orleans Police Department has received approval to use drones in its investigations, a decision federal authorities made after a nearly year-long process.

The Department of Justice and the NOPD's consent decree monitor approved the drone policy Tuesday, a decision the NOPD says now allows them to deploy drones in specific scenarios as a "more efficient, cost-effective and safer alternative."

"The NOPD fully respects the privacy rights of all residents and visitors to New Orleans and took this into consideration when crafting this policy," Superintendent Anne Kirkpatrick said in a prepared statement.

Local watchdog group Eye on Surveillance has voiced opposition to drone use, calling it ineffective, expensive and racially biased.

The NOPD contends the policy includes sufficient safeguards.

"We feel this policy creates a thorough structure as to when this technology could be used and having the confirmation of the Department of Justice and the Office of the Consent Decree Monitor only lends to solidify that belief."

The drones will allow detectives to use aerial footage and images to assist in investigations. All flights will be under Federal Aviation Administration regulations, as well as department policy, the NOPD said.

The NOPD said Wednesday it has no plans to deploy the drones during the 2024 Mardi Gras season. All future drone flights will be publicized to the media through the NOPD's public information office.

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