With the recent protest in Ferguson, MO over the shooting of Michael Brown and the heavy handed response of the Ferguson police department, bringing out mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles (MRAP), tear gas, snipers, and camouflaged dressed cops, much focus has been put on the militarization of the police force. Los Angeles is no stranger to a militarized police force. The LAPD created the first SWAT team in the nation in 1967. You could say L.A. started the trend in police force militarization.
So it should be no surprise that the LAPD continues to lead the way in using military grade tools and technology to “maintain the peace,” especially by means of surveillance.
The following is a list of technology the LAPD has in its possession to reduce crime, many of which are controversial and raise concerns about privacy.
The LAPD currently has two Draganflyer X6 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
They received these from the Seattle Police department which needed to get rid of them because the residents there didn’t want them.
The drones are currently locked down; awaiting the results of a review by the the LAPD, the Board of Police Commissioners, and the public.
The purpose of the review is to determine whether the LAPD can use the drones to prevent “imminent bodily harm” in situations such as a hostage situation or barricaded armed suspect – not for surveillance.