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DRONERESPONDERS develops responsible drone use guide for public safety agencies

DRONERESPONDERS announced this week the release of The Five C’s:  Principles on the Responsible Use of Drones by Public Safety Agencies, which provide a new tool to help guide the development and deployment of drones by first responders, reports

While there is no shortage of information on drone safety, the existing maze of reports including those from DOJ, IACP, and civil society organizations can be difficult to understand and challenging to implement. The Five C’s  provide guidance that is easy to apply in practice.

The principles revolve around five critical pillars:

  1. Community Engagement and Transparency

Public service is a public trust. When developing and operating a drone program, it is critical to engage in an ongoing conversation with the community you serve. Effective community interaction consists of two parts:  public participation and transparency.

  1. Civil Liberties and Privacy Protection

Every drone program should be predicated on the protection of privacy and the promotion of civil liberties.  Agencies should develop safeguards and training procedures that advance those objectives across every aspect of the program.

  1. Common Operating Procedures 

Departments should develop and adopt common operating procedures to guide the use of drones. The Five C’s provide guidance for the development of operating procedures that account for best practices in the field on topics such as FAA compliance and video management practices designed to protect privacy.

  1. Clear Oversight and Accountability

Agencies need to establish robust oversight measures designed to ensure compliance and accountability, along with clear oversight processes that combine both internal and external measures.

5. Cybersecurity

Drones have become network-connected devices that should be subject to cybersecurity reviews.

“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,” said 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 most responsible manner possible.”

Drone technology is transforming public safety for the better; fire, emergency management, and law enforcement agencies use drones every day to provide situational awareness during demanding situations. Obtaining real-time awareness in dangerous scenarios results in better outcomes, greater accountability, and increased leadership involvement in events as they unfold. 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 important as in recent months, the use of drone technology by first responders has attracted scrutiny and criticism.  “The Five C’s are designed to get new drone programs off the ground and enable existing programs to flourish,” stated Chad Karlewicz, DRONERESPONDERS’ Deputy Director and Commander with the Renton Police Department.

DRONERESPONDERS developed these principles with the support and assistance of drone manufacturer Skydio. “Skydio is thrilled to collaborate with DRONERESPONDERS,” said Brendan Groves, Skydio’s Head of Regulatory and Policy Affairs, who formerly led and scaled the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) drone program. “Drones are indispensable tools for first responders. The Five C’s present a clear and compelling vision of principles that will provide a strong foundation for the future.”

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