Following the announcement this summer that officers would begin using drones, the Portland Police Bureau has published a new dashboard showing how often they’ve been used. As of Oct. 9, police have deployed drones to 22 calls, using an average of two of the “unmanned aerial systems” each time.
Of those 22 flights, seven were “exigent,” seven were search warrants, five were “traffic” related, and three were for training. All but one were on the east side of the Willamette River, and 10 were east of Interstate 205.
The bureau requested $80,000 from city council in spring to buy 12 drones, which they’ve given to their Traffic Division and Metro Explosive Disposal Unit for a one year pilot. They’re deployed during “major crashes” and “tactical events,” according to the bureau’s website.
The bureau’s release of the data comes six weeks after WW requested all of the bureau’s drone flight reports, which must include a “summary of activities” and all “data gathered” per the bureau’s new drone policy created early this year. The bureau marked the request fulfilled on Monday without providing the reports, instead referring WW to the new dashboard.
The bureau has delayed publicly announcing the dashboard, which was published on its website in mid-September, while it susses out any bugs and double-checks the accuracy of the info, bureau spokeswoman Terri Wallo Strauss tells WW.