Minneapolis police drone policy to get public hearing Wednesday

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The Minneapolis Police Department says it’s ready to deploy drones to combat crime, respond to emergencies and deescalate dangerous situations.

Dozens of law enforcement agencies across the state already use the technology, but the ACLU says it’s keeping a close eye on how MPD proceeds.

MPD will present its proposed drone policy to the City Council’s Public Health and Safety Committee during a public comment period on Wednesday.

This step is required by state law before MPD can implement the new policy, which only needs to meet minimum standards under Minnesota law and does not require approval by the City Council.

Minnesota ACLU Policy Director, Julia Decker, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the MPD drone policy meets minimum state guidelines under the law, but her organization would like to see MPD make its policy a little bit stronger.

RELATED: New report details drone use by law enforcement agencies in Minnesota

“For Minneapolis, in terms of looking at the policy, it follows the state law,” Decker said. “I think we would, as a general principle, love to see stronger, more stringent requirements around the use of drones by the Minneapolis Police Department.”

City Council member LaTrisha Vetaw chairs the Public Health and Safety Committee. She told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS she believes the MPD drone policy is needed and the department would act responsibly.

“The Minneapolis Police Department knows they’re under a microscope,” Vetaw said. “So I have full confidence in our police officers to use this technology in the way that it is intended to be used and not abuse it.”

Wednesday’s public comment starts at 1:30 p.m. in Room 317 of Minneapolis City Hall.