University of Pittsburgh Drone Documents

Drone Watch filed this request with the University of Pittsburgh of Pennsylvania.


From: Drone Watch

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to Pennsylvania Right to Know Act, I hereby request the following records:

1. any requests for proposals, proposals submitted by vendors, contracts, budgets or cost allocations for the purchase and/or use of aerial drones, UAs, UAVs, and UASs (hereinafter “drones”);

2. any policies, guidelines, manuals and/or instructions on department use of drones, including on the legal process required (such as a warrant or court order), if any, before operating a drone;

3. any departmental records concerning this department’s use of drones now or plans to use drones in the future including:

a. the types of investigations or instances in which this department is using or plans to use drones, or how it plans to support, manage or oversee the usage of drones by another department or office;

b. policies, guidelines, manuals and/or instructions on storage requirements or procedures for video or static images obtained through use of drones, including retention times;

c. the altitude at which drones can or do fly;

d. drones’ ability to carry weapons.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.


Matthew Potechko

From: Holmes, Richard Allen

Mr. Potechko:

Your electronic mail message sent to the University's Jerome Cochran has been referred to me for review and response.

You have asked for certain records, citing the Pennsylvania Right-To-Know Law. Initially, I note that your request is unclear as to who the "department" is. In any event, however, the Pennsylvania Right-To-Know Law does not require the University to provide you with the records you requested. In fact, the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law excludes state-related universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, from the definition of “State-affiliated entity” and such institutions are not among the agencies subject to the requirement to produce records such as those you requested.

In light of the foregoing, the University respectfully declines to respond further to your request.

Richard A. Holmes


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