San Jose police get $8k for drone, deny having paper trail

“SJPD’s bomb squad will acquire an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which will provide the capability to inspect suspicious packages”

Written by Shawn Musgrave
Edited by JPat Brown

In May 2013, the Department of Homeland Security awarded police in San Jose, Calif. $8,000 to purchase a drone for the bomb squad. But when we asked five months later, the San Jose Police Department claimed to have no such documents.  

Per a memorandum approved by the San Jose City Council in November 2013 and unearthed by a policy fellow at the ACLU of Northern California, the SJPD bomb squad was approved to acquire a drone “which will provide the capability to inspect suspicious packages in areas with limited accessibility or in a confined space.”


In fiscal year 2012, the San Francisco Police Department asked for $100,000 to purchase its own drone to conduct building risk assessment, monitor events and response to natural disasters.  

While the original SFPD request was rejected, DHS approved San Jose’s more modest $8k proposal in September 2013.  

And yet, in response to two record requests submitted in December 2012 and October 2013 as part of the Drone Census, San Jose police insisted they had no documents to provide.  

Read the full story at Motherboard.

We’ve submitted - and the SJPD just acknowledged - an additional records request that asks once again for San Jose police department drone documents, including all grant materials, invoices and protocols prepared for the SJPD bomb squad.  

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