Alameda County Sheriff Seeks Drone To Fight Crime

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ALAMEDA (CBS/AP) – The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department is hoping to become one of the handful of local law enforcement agencies that have received federal clearance to use unmanned aerial drones to fight crime.

Civil liberties and privacy groups revealed Thursday that Sheriff Greg Ahern is seeking Department of Homeland Security funding to buy a small remote-controlled drone called a Dragon Fly.

A memo one of Ahern’s captains prepared over the summer said the drone would be equipped with a long-distance camera, live video downlink and infrared sensors that could be used for monitoring bomb threats, fires, unruly crowds, and marijuana grows.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU of Northern California want the sheriff to provide more details about why the drone is needed and how the department would use it.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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