Chief Sam Dotson, Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce Support Use Of Drones In Police Chases

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via
Jennifer Joyce.
While some are concerned that drones may violate privacy rights through increased surveillance, two key law enforcement officials in St. Louis have now formally expressed interest in the technology -- which they say could be a helpful tool in police chases.

"One significant issue that I believe this project could improve upon is the Department's pursuit policy," St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce writes in a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration yesterday. "Offenders believe if they run, they will not be chased. This has led to an increase in felony fleeing and criminals driving recklessly. When vehicles flee from the police, the potential for officer and civilian injury or even loss of life increases."

The other official very interested in drones? Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson -- who tells the FAA that St. Louis would like to deploy this technology. Their full letters are below.

See also:
- Drones In St. Louis? City Mentions Technology As Potential Crime Tool
- Queens of the Drone Age: Mizzou Journalism Program Will Soon Have A Drone
- Chief Sam Dotson Reflects On Violent Week In St. Louis

As we reported yesterday, the city of St. Louis has expressed a willingness to explore drone technology as a crime-fighting tool. Mayor Francis Slay tweeted, "There will be drones. Let's start figuring out where and why," and a spokeswoman later told Daily RFT that this was in reference to the approved federal use of the small airplane technology. The mayor's office says it is open to considering this tool.

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Daily RFT has since received copies of the official letters Dotson and Joyce sent to Steven Pansky, senior air traffic control analyst with the FAA. The police chief's message is clear: "The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is interested in deploying an Unmanned Aerial Observation Platform to support its crime reduction strategies. Programs like this will help reduce crime and keep officers and civilians safer."

The "unmanned aerial" platform is the more formal terminology for drones, which are typically small aircrafts that operate without a human pilot.

It has been reported in recent weeks that the FBI has received aviation clearance for multiple domestic drone operations.

How could drones be useful for St. Louis?

Dotson writes:

In recent years, two St. Louis City Police Officers have been killed in the line of duty as a result of vehicle pursuits; many more have been seriously injured. The casualties of vehicle pursuits are not limited to Police Officers. Far too many innocent citizens have either been killed or seriously injured as a result of these pursuits.

The idea is that this kind of technology could be especially effective in an urban environment where police chases can be particularly challenging and dangerous.

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via Facebook
Police Chief Sam Dotson.

Aside from "spotting and following people in a fleeting vehicle," the technology could be useful more broadly, Dotson says, arguing that it can "help in surveillance of public areas during large events and investigations of illegal activities."

Dotson briefly references privacy concerns at the end of his letter, saying, "Any program committed to the pursuit of justice and designed to make the City of St. Louis much safer for everyone has my support while still being mindful of an individual's right to privacy."

Through the letter, his department is asking the FAA for the "next steps towards this endeavor."

Joyce's letter echos Dotson's message, noting that the "proposal to acquire and utilize" drones has her "enthusiastic support."

Regarding privacy concerns, Dotson told the Post-Dispatch -- which first reported on the letters from the chief and the circuit attorney -- that the use of technology is legal, saying, "This isn't Big Brother. This is a decision to make everyone in the community safer."

Here are the letters from Dotson and Joyce.

FAA Letter - Chief Sam Dotson

FAA Letter - Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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26 comments
tyrone22
tyrone22

I sent a report to Jefferson City  Attorney Generals Office so long and thick, "it was thicker  than a LUK DANCER" out lining all the inner city Crime by office Holder. Judges, Attorneys, police, Parking Ticket, Mayor  and his office ,  Next it's going to the FBI  who will getting a copy. First we need to get the crooks out of our appointed and elected offices before we can clean up our city streets, 

For Example , If a child is not yours and you have paper work stating this , Why is a Judge on the stand taking  or stealing $1,710.00 form me for back child support"? Police Chief Sam Dotson, have you ever locked up a Judge before? 

Oh yes Each section in that 5 page report has photos and paper work to back each and every story. 

tyrone22
tyrone22

Jennifer Joyce Support remember that cochlear hearing aid

Don’t you think you need to be creating a fund raiser for not doing your job?  My babies Hearing aid  has not be replaced after you repeated blundering.  I sent a letter to the state Attorney General Office  and gotten a reply. . Let’s see if your Boss can make you do it. I personally think if should come put of you pay check. $20K warless cochlear hearing aid

tyrone22
tyrone22

Chief Sam Dotson  is the Creator of the Drive By Drug Dealer.And will be forever  known as the Father of the Drive by drug Dealer delivery system in St.Louis city .  The drug dealers are now MIRGRATING  to your neighborhood ,

You see them at the Gas station, parks, liquor store,  Food marts, Auto repair shop,  and sitting in cars parked in the silliest places. With just enough drugs to swallow when the cops pull up. Lol

Stopping the cash for 18 months and switching to plastic will end the problem and end the drug trade in St.Louis , How many more people need to be killed or locked up over this mess. That seems to be getting messier

Dave Muser
Dave Muser

I think more police in high crime areas would help. The drone is going to be naked to the eye which would allow the crime to happen. Isn't it the purpose of "policing" being misconstrued here? It's a way to bring more revenue in. Again our government investing in things with higher return$ than giving a person a job or saving a life.

Alex Peck
Alex Peck

This doesnt surprise me..Where else would this happen in this country?St.louis is the most liberal,clueless city on how to run anything.

Aaron Wilbers
Aaron Wilbers

I don''t have a problem with deploying a drone where you would a helicopter...but we all know it won't be like that. Just like tasers were to be used instead of guns, now they are used on autistic 11 year old girls, and people who are already handcuffed. So soon drones will just fly and monitor us like the slaves we are becoming. Big Brother is watching.

Blake Harris
Blake Harris

Door to door searches would stop a lot of crime, you shouldn't mind if you have nothing to hide..

Marita Donalds
Marita Donalds

Of course, I agree completely. However, I feel that RFT concentrates mostly on the Negative in their reporting. These SAME articles are posted over and over again on a daily basis.

Angela Poletti
Angela Poletti

but people need to know of the potential implementation of drone surveillance, regardless of its effect on the tourism industry.

Marita Donalds
Marita Donalds

RFT is effectively reducing Tourism-$$. With articles about being No. 1 in crime, why newcomers don't like it here, and now Drones needed to curb crime etc. ... Good Job guys, don't like visitors much, do you??!?

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

we have camera's everywhere & still there is terrible crime in stl, the drowns are only a toy for powerhungry boys with guns & perverts spying at us...

Dana Steinhoff Hawn
Dana Steinhoff Hawn

I won't go to visit or vacation at St Louis anymore and I won't go to the concerts or VP Fairs either....

Jason Granger
Jason Granger

Good reason to stay out of the city limits. I won't spend a dime downtown if this happens. Obviously the chief has no idea how to control crime. Seattle tried it and it was a flop.

Joe Harman
Joe Harman

Time for some Anti-Drone Technology... Shotgun with Birdshot!

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

I think we should try it and see what happens. If it will make the criminals think twice about crime in St. Louis....use it.

Marc Seleman
Marc Seleman

Put all the existing cops out on the streets instead of them sitting in the precincts. Start preventing crime instead of just reacting to it. And how many times do you see a crime scene on TV and dozens of cops are just standing around. Keep them on the streets.

Pat Torregrossa
Pat Torregrossa

Agree they are assbackwards and trying to justify spying, but these days in st.louis it's needed till some assclown just starts shooting them down over enemy lines... Waste of money I think....

Manju Pandey Owoso
Manju Pandey Owoso

Based on the increase in crime bring all the drones, catch the criminals and make STL safer. Safety triumphs privacy.

Frank Motlik
Frank Motlik

I think it is a freakin' waste of taxpayer's money... What a MORON... Put more Officers on the damn streets if you want to spend some tax dollars..!

Casey Kohler
Casey Kohler

I can't promise I won't protect my rights to privacy. :)

Carl Campbell
Carl Campbell

The funny thing is that the only Drone Aircraft that would do any good are the military style surveillance Drones. Last I remember they have a helicopter for that. Small UAV's do not have the range or speed for police work. OH NOES A QUAD IS FOLLOWING ME. I JUST HAVE TO DRIVE FASTER THAN 20MPH for 15 minutes or for 2 miles.

Chris Reimer
Chris Reimer

As long as the drones are made of brick, went to high school here in St. Louis, and know how to pronounce "forty," I'm cool with it.

tyrone22
tyrone22

This city will be better off going to China and buying $2,000.00 worth of Fake cameras. and installing them around the drug community building and lamp poles. , they dont even need to work , just as a deterrent with a BIG sign. 

Or just STOP THE CASH. 


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