Public meeting Wednesday on Seattle PD use of drones

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by NATALIE SWABY / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on February 5, 2013 at 11:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 6 at 7:54 AM

SEATTLE - Ahead of a Wednesday afternoon meeting about the police use of drones in Seattle, business owners in the Rainier Valley shared their strong opinions about the controversial topic.

Exequiel Soltero owns Mayas Mexican Restaurant and he said he has seen a lot of criminal activity in the neighborhood. Last Friday, a man was injured in a shooting down the street from his business. When Soltero heard about Seattle Police possibly adding flying cameras, better known as drones, he called it a new tool that could help protect the public.
 
"I think that will be a good way to keep people safe," said Soltero.
 
Just across the street, another business owner, Rafeeq Sadeeq had a different point of view. He does rely on surveillance cameras for safey at his hair boutique but he said police go too far, having an eye in the sky. 
 
"Why would you spend more tax dollars on more machinery and technology that really does nothing but invade your privacy," said Sadeeq.
 
Seattle police made public a proposal Tuesday for drone use.  Read it here.
 
SPD said the drones will not be used in random surveillance and will not carry weapons. Instead the drones, carrying a tiny camera, would be used for specific targets like responding to large crime scenes, serious collisions, hazardous materials threats, disaster scenes, search and rescue missions, and situations with barricaded persons.  
 
Wednesday at 2 p.m., the city council will discuss and possibly vote on legislation to regulate the police department's use of drones. 
 
Doug Honig of the ACLU said Tuesday, "our elected leaders need to adopt an ordinance controlling the use of this new surveillance technology or it will control us. We are very pleased to see the city council moving forward on setting clear restrictions on the use of drones."
 
 
 

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