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DRONE RESPONDERS Declares Principles on the Responsible Use of Drones by Public Safety Agencies

By CIOReview | Monday, July 27, 2020

DRONE RESPONDERS announced the release of The Five Cs: Principles on the Responsible Use of Drones by Public Safety Agencies, which provide a powerful new tool to help guide the development and deployment of drones’ first responders. 

FREMONT, CA: Although there is no shortage of materials on the development of public safety drone programs, the existing maze of reports--from DOJ, IACP, and civil society organizations can be challenging to navigate and even more challenging to implement. The Five Cs distill critical concepts to offer clear guidance that is easy to incorporate in practice. The principles around the five critical pillars:

1. Civil Liberties and Privacy Protection

Each drone program must be predicated on the protection of privacy and the promotion of civil liberties. The agencies involved should develop safeguards and training procedures that advance those objectives across every program element. 

2. Community Engagement and Transparency

While developing and operating a drone program, it is critical to engage in an ongoing conversation with the community you serve. Active community engagements consist of two parts: public participation and transparency.

3. Common Operating Procedures 

Departments should develop and adopt standard operating procedures to guide the use of drones. The Five Cs provide a roadmap for operating procedures that account for excellent practices in the field on topics like FAA compliance and video management practices formulated to protect privacy. 

4. Cybersecurity

Modern drones are more than just a flying machine. Drones have become a network-connected device that should be subject to cybersecurity reviews. 

5. Clear Oversight and Accountability

·Agencies have to establish robust oversight measures designed to ensure compliance and accountability, along with transparent oversight processes that combine internal and external measures.   

"These principles are designed to establish a clear path forward and a firm foundation on which to build public safety UAS programs that will promote responsible use and public trust," says Chief Charles Werner (Emeritus-RET), the Director of the DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance. "It excites us to know that first responder agencies now have a solid set of principles to operate in the safest and responsible manner possible."

Drone technology is revolutionizing public safety for the better; fire, emergency management, and law enforcement agencies use drones to provide situational awareness during demanding emergencies. Securing real-time awareness in critical scenarios leads to better outcomes, greater accountability, and good leadership involvement in events as they unfold. Although every public safety agency should have access to drone technology's transformative potential, this new tool must be used in a responsible manner that acknowledges the importance of community engagement and the protection of privacy and civil liberties. 

This commitment has never been more critical. Recently, the use of drone technology by the first responders has attracted criticism and scrutiny. This represents an opportunity for the public safety community to affirm a set of shared values designed to promote responsible use and preserve the trust given to first responders. 

"The Five Cs are designed to get new drone programs off the ground and enable existing programs to truly flourish," said Chad Karlewicz, DRONERESPONDERS Deputy Director and Commander with the Renton Police Department. 

"DRONERESPONDERS developed these principles with the support and assistance of Skydio, the largest U.S. drone manufacturer and world leader in autonomous flight. Skydio is thrilled to collaborate with DRONERESPONDERS to support the responsible use of drone technology," says Brendan Groves, Skydios Head of Regulatory and Policy Affairs. They formerly led and scaled the U.S. Department of Justices (DOJ) drone program. "Drones are indispensable tools for first responders. The Five Cs present a clear and compelling vision of principles that will provide a strong foundation for the future."