Department of Justice updates policy on the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

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The US Department of Justice is seeking to leverage technological advances in pursuit of its mission to protect the public and enforce the laws, and in doing so, has recognised that in recent years, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have rapidly evolved to become a paradigm-shifting technology with far-reaching societal impacts.

Among many other things, UAS are now a very promising tool for enhancing public safety and security; indeed, the Department’s own use of UAS, to date, demonstrates their utility and potential. “Properly deployed, UAS can reduce risks to law enforcement officers and the public, while minimizing costs and increasing efficiency when compared to manned aircraft and other alternative tools,” notes the DOJ. “UAS augment the ability of federal law enforcement officers to conduct a wide range of critical missions, including search and rescue, disaster relief, tactical-entry support, and fixed-site security.”

it is the policy of the Department to utilize UAS in an appropriate and responsible manner that advances the Department’s mission

In order to harness these benefits while guarding against associated risks, it is the policy of the Department to utilize UAS in an appropriate and responsible manner that advances the Department’s mission, promotes public safety, and protects privacy and civil liberties. This Department of Justice Policy on the Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems aims to facilitate the Department’s use of UAS within a framework designed to provide appropriate oversight, accountability, and transparency.

The policy considers applicability, compliance with law, scope of use, approvals, access to airspace, training, tracking, reporting, stakeholder engagement, protecting privacy and civil liberties, data retention, procurement, policy implementation, and internal co-ordination.

To read the policy in full, click here: https://www.justice.gov/jm/9-95000-unmanned-aircraft-systems-uas