A year later, Seattle police still have their two drones

Mayor ordered police to return to vendor in February 2013

Written by Shawn Musgrave

In February 2013 then-Mayor Mike McGinn of Seattle announced that he had grounded his police department’s drone program and ordered its two unmanned aerial vehicles to be returned to the manufacturer. More than a year later, Seattle Police Department still has drones on the shelf.

Read the full story at Motherboard.

In the first iteration of the Drone Census, we found that the Seattle Police Department spent more than $80,000 in federal grant funds on its two Draganflyer X6 drones. In February 2013, just a few months after we published, the mayor ordered SPD to stop training with the drones and to return them to the vendor.

But in response to our follow up request as part of the second round of the Drone Census, Seattle police indicate that they have yet to ship the drone back.

SPD Interim Chief Harry Bailey wrote back last Thursday:

As of the date of this correspondence the Seattle Police Department has not returned the unmanned aerial surveillance drones and therefore does not have any responsive documents in regards to packing slips, receipts for shipping, etc.

Bailey did not provide any further details as to the fate of SPD’s drones. He indicated that there had been no communications between the mayor’s office and police about the matter, nor between SPD and the UAV manufacturer. I have also requested communications with the Department of Homeland Security, in light of statements last year that suggested DHS might be holding up the decommissioning process.


Image via SeattlePI.com