LAPD Board Approves Controversial Drone Program

Daily News Article - October 18, 2017


1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)

2. For what reasons do some/many people oppose the LAPD drone pilot program?

3. a) What strategy did protesters use during the meeting of the LA Board of Police Commissioners to express their opposition?
b) Do you think this is an effective method for persuading the panel to reconsider their decision to implement a pilot program? Explain your answer.
CHALLENGE: How could those opposed to the use of drones use a ballot measure to achieve their goal? (For help, go to StudentNewsDaily’s “Election” page; scroll down to the bottom below the cartoon for information on ballot measures.)

4. Before approving a pilot program for the police department’s use of drones, what steps did the board take?

5. a) List the specific situations in which the police would use the drones.
b) For what uses will the drones NOT be utilized?

6. What assurance did Police Chief Charlie Beck give those concerned about the police use of drones?

7. Read the “Background” below the questions. Consider the Police Chief’s assurances that the drones will not be misused, as well as the approval officers must get for each drone flight. What do you think:
a) Is Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, the Drone-Free LAPD/No Drones and other groups’ opposition to police drone use for specific purposes reasonable? Explain your answer.
b) With the rapid advance of technology and the internet, people have given up a lot of their privacy. Surveillance cameras are everywhere; personal information is easily accessed on the internet. In 2017, should people expect their local police departments to avoid using these tools that have the potential for misuse? Are you comfortable with your local police department using drones for the activities specified? Ask a parent the same question.

8. The use of drones by average citizens could lead to widespread invasion of privacy:  Neighbors flying drones over your backyard or hovering outside your window recording you, strangers flying drones over your head when you’re at the beach or lake, shopping or at a sporting event, entering your doctor’s office, etc.
a) For those people opposed to police use of drones, should they also oppose civilian use of drones? (“recreational” drone use)?
b) Do you think drones should be completely outlawed to preserve individual privacy rights?
Should there be a specific set of restrictions on where/how drones can be used by individuals the way the police department guidelines place restrictions on where/how they use them? Explain your answers.

OPTIONAL: The Cato Institute is a Libertarian organization. Read an article on the police use of drones from the Libertarian perspective:
LAPD Drones Threaten Privacy” by Matthew Feeney, Oct. 17, 2017