The Seattle Police Department's drone doesn't look like much of a threat in person. In fact, it looks like a toy. In a warehouse where police vehicles are stored, Officer Reuben Omelanchuk on Friday demonstrated how the unmanned aerial vehicle hovers and flies.
The 3.5 pound Draganflyer X6 Helicopter Tech cost $41,000 and is operated with a handheld controller and two joysticks. It has cameras that take still pictures, videos and infrared shots that can be viewed live, but it has a battery life of less than 10 minutes. It can't carry anything that weighs more than 35 ounces. It also can't be flown around people or over crowds.
Still, the Police Department's acquisition of the unmanned aerial vehicle and its recent approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate the drone has raised issues about privacy, the use of technology in law enforcement and the alleged militarization of police work.