PHOENIX - During the response to a report of a woman being shot in Phoenix on Feb. 11, five officers were shot, and four others were injured in a deadly barricade situation, and the city says Glendale Police provided drones for tactical help.
Now, there are calls for Phoenix Police to acquire drones.
"I think it's a no-brainer situation," said Andy Anderson, a retired assistant police chief who is now a police practice expert. "We're the fifth largest city in the nation, one of the largest police departments in the nation, and we're borrowing from a neighboring police department."
Meanwhile, member of the Phoenix City Council says it’s time for Phoenix to have its own drones, and placed a measure to a vote on Feb. 16.
Phoenix City Councilor Ann O’Brien had a reaction similar to so many others after what happened. "This kind of attack on people that just want to keep their community members safe is absolutely unacceptable," she said.
In the hours since what happened, she's refocused attention on something council members voted on just last month, saying, "For tactical reasons, helps to keep our officers safe."
As of now, the Phoenix Police Department doesn't have drones for situations like on Feb. 11. "We’re the fifth-largest city in the country and our men and women in blue deserve to have drones for their safety and the safety of citizens in the city," O’Brien remarked.
At a council meeting in January, work began to start a drone program for Phoenix Fire, but police were way down the list and required more votes for it to happen.
Many have cited serious privacy concerns with a police department using drone technology, including Councilmember Carlos Garcia's chief of staff, who tweeted a list of Phoenix Police drone uses, followed by "We just got this 4 hours before council is set to vote on giving more $$$ to a department currently under investigation."
O’Brien says those concerns can be addressed in the policies and requirements for the program but wants it to receive approval.
"I do believe that we can put together policies that will protect our citizens' right to privacy while allowing men and women to do their job in a safer way," O’Brien said.
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