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Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Program

MISSION:

The mission of the Fullerton Police Departments Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) program is to provide airborne support to police and emergency operations in a safe, responsible, and transparent manner, for the purpose of increasing the safety and security of citizens in the City of Fullerton.

OVERVIEW:

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), more commonly referred to as drones, have proven to be a valuable resource for law enforcement, first responders, and during emergency service operations. The Fullerton Police Department and many other law enforcement agencies have adopted drone programs after seeing the benefits and value they provide to improving public safety. Some examples include; providing an overhead view of a specific area or incident for ground personnel, safely clearing the interior of buildings, providing detailed documentation of crime and accident scenes, and searching for lost or missing persons.

HISTORY:

The Fullerton Police Department initiated its development of the UAS Program in 2018 and spent the next two years researching the project before its implementation. While developing the program, the Fullerton Police Department studied the use of the UAS technology in public safety operations around the country, while also researching best practices, policies, and procedures regarding the use of UAS technology in law enforcement.

A large portion of the team’s research was an effort to address concerns about public trust, civil liberties, and the public’s right to privacy during the operation of the UAS systems. It is important to note that, out of respect for civil liberties and personal privacy, the Fullerton Police Department UAS Policy specifically prohibits the use of UAS Systems for random surveillance activities, to target a person based solely on individual characteristics, such as, but not limited to race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation, to harass, intimidate or discriminate against any individual or group.  The UAS will not be weaponized.  The Fullerton Police Department UAS Team maintains a strict adherence to the 4th amendment to the Constitution and trains regularly to maintain that reputation.

Prior to launching the UAS program, five sworn police officers were trained in the operation of UAS technology, and earned required commercial licenses (FAA Part 107) and certifications necessary to operate UAS’ in the performance of their law enforcement duties. The UAS Program has been approved with a Certificate of Authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration for use as a Police Agency.

MEET THE TEAM:

Program Manager: Lieutenant Tony Rios
Program Coordinator: Sergeant Brandon Clyde
Chief Pilot: Corporal Chad Keen
Chief Maintenance Officer & Pilot: Detective Gary Sirin
Pilot: Detective Peter Ryu
Pilot: Officer Luis Ramirez

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