Cleveland Police’s Drone Delay: What’s the Holdup?

Why the Long Wait for Crime-Fighting Tech?

The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered delays in Cleveland getting drones and cameras, equipment other departments have used for years. Despite City Council approving drone purchases in 2022, the city only ordered nine drones this February. Additionally, although cameras were installed in police cars last year, dashcam recordings have just started.

Delayed Implementation and Frustration

At a recent press conference, Interim Director of Public Safety Wayne Drummond stated the delays were due to ensuring the best technology and policies are in place.

“We're gonna slow-walk it, make sure that we're doing the right thing relative to our residents, and what they want, and what they need,” Drummond said.

Despite this, the police union expressed frustration. Andy Gasiewski, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association, mentioned the urgency to use the equipment before it becomes outdated.

“They want to do it last second and rush everything through, so we can get trained. And how good is the training when they're rushing everything?”

Missed Opportunities and Lack of Planning

A memo revealed that the city planned to buy drones back in 2022, but the former safety director, Karrie Howard, never developed the necessary policies. After Howard's resignation, it was discovered he had not drafted a formal plan for drone use. The Department of Public Safety has since been reviewing documents and researching best practices to develop a drone program compliant with and community standards.

Council's Reaction

City Council Public Safety Committee Chairman Michael Polensek voiced his frustration.

“I lobbied for this stuff for years. Fix it. Fix it for our men and women in blue. We pay taxes for services, and we're not getting them. I want protection.”

DroneXL's Take

The delays in Cleveland's adoption of drones and dashcams highlight a critical gap in leveraging technology for public safety. Drones can significantly enhance crime-fighting capabilities, offering real-time surveillance and rapid response. It's crucial for the city to expedite the integration of these technologies to improve safety and ensure resources are used effectively. The community deserves the best protection available, and modern is key to achieving that.


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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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