Keep Surveillance Drones out of Police Hands


Target: Charlie Beck, Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department

Goal: Call on police officials to reject the use of military-style drones in domestic law enforcement

When people picture drones, or “unmanned aerial vehicles,” the first image to come up is often one of the War on Terror. Drones have been used by the United States military to target and kill people in several nations, including many unarmed and innocent civilians. What people may fail to understand is that drones are also used by domestic law enforcement to spy on Americans right in their own country.

Many, including media outlets like the Washington Post and watchdog groups like the Centre for Research on Globalization, have spoken out about the immoral use of drones in warfare. Yet their use against innocent civilians inside the United States remains on the rise.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) recently received a “gift” of two surveillance drones after Seattle rejected them over citizens’ concerns about the invasion of privacy. A spokesperson for the LAPD said in a press release that “”We wanted to be really up-front with the public that we’re looking at using these down the road…We wanted to make sure it didn’t look like we were trying to sneak these things into action.” This supposed transparency came after the secretive acquisition of the drones in question.

Citizens of Los Angeles and around the world have every reason to be nervous about the militarization of police and increasingly-common invasions of privacy. Call on the Chief of the LAPD to heed his constituents’ concerns and reject the use of drones in local law enforcement.


Dear Chief Beck,

The LAPD’s acquisition of two Draganflyer x6 surveillance drones is deeply disturbing. Yours has become the largest police department in America to obtain drones for use in domestic law enforcement–a practice which should be wholly rejected by you and other department leaders.

American citizens have spoken up loud and clear to object to the use of drones in warfare. Their use against innocent civilians within the United States is equally appalling. No supposed risk of future terrorist threats can justify this invasion of privacy, which essentially treats all humans as suspects before a crime has even been committed. Evidence has also surfaced to show that police are prepared to use drones to spy on protestors and activists–a clear violation of human rights.

As Chief of the LAPD I must insist that you reject the use of drones by your law enforcement officers. Whether or not they were a “gift,” and regardless of what assurances your spokespeople may give the media, your officers’ use of drones is completely unacceptable and must not proceed.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Fasicle via Wikimedia Commons

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