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California law enforcement moves to buy drones, draws controversy

from Ars Technica

Since Congress passed legislation in February ordering the Federal Aviation Administration to fast-track the approval of unmanned aerial vehicles — more colloquially known as drones — for use by law enforcement agencies, police and sheriff departments across the country have been scrambling to purchase the smaller, unarmed cousins of the Predator and Reaper drones which carry out daily sorties over Afghanistan, Yemen, and other theaters of operation. Alameda County in California has become one of the central battlegrounds over the introduction of drones to domestic police work. Were Alameda County to purchase a drone, it would set a precedent in California, which long has been an innovator in law enforcement tactics: from SWAT teams (pioneered in Delano and Los Angeles) to anti-gang tactics such as civil injunctions. more

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