OAKLAND (KCBS) – On Thursday, Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern will make his pitch for the county to begin using an unmanned aircraft or drone to monitor hard-to-reach areas.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department said they want the drones to be mission-oriented only – for specific items like hostage situations, search and rescue and fires.

But the Alameda County Board of Supervisors delayed making a decision on the plan late last year, after being pressured by the American Civil Liberties Union, which has concerns about the lack of privacy safeguards in Ahern’s plan.

The ACLU is concerned about the drones being launched for other purposes or even spreading information that is captured by the drone.

It’s also unclear about mutual aid for the drone and sharing with other agencies. There are no rules in place to control the use of the drone in different cities.

And while many local law enforcement leaders have said they would like to be able to use the drone as a means to help with smaller staffing levels, they also realize it needs the approval from the community.

You can hear Phil Matier’s comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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