Drones flying over San Diego County by sheriff's department could become reality

Sales quote sent by Datron World Communications

SAN DIEGO - Drones flying over San Diego County with cameras could become a reality.

The San Diego Sheriff's Department tells 10News that they have looked into this unmanned aerial vehicle -- or UAV -- technology.

"To enhance local law enforcements' capabilities in enhancing public safety," said San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Cmdr. David Myers.

However, a public records watchdog group based in Boston called MuckRock says not so fast.

"What MuckRock is trying to do is get a little transparency of how police departments and sheriff's departments across the country are looking to use them," said Shawn Musgrave, who is with MuckRock.

They have another concern.

"There are privacy restrictions that need to be put in place in order to clarify how particular departments can actually use the technology,” said Musgrave.

So MuckRock wants to ground the UAVs until usage guidelines are in place.

They posted a sales quote online from a Vista company called Datron World Communications to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Datron manufactures a version of the drone.

The quote is dated July 2011 and shows the estimated cost of the UAV is a little more than $92,000. A camera is $23,577. Add a light and training and the total estimate is more than $131,000.      

10News asked the San Diego Sheriff's Department about the quote and they say it was just a general quote sent to the department after Daytron invited them to see and test the units.

While they are interested in using some type of UAV technology, they tell 10News they have not purchased a UAV and if they do, they have a plan for it.

"For one example, our marijuana eradication programs when we're out in the mountains in vast forest area," said Myers.

They could only fly it with permission from the FAA.

Musgrave agrees that the use of UAVs can be effective but wants to be sure some guidelines are in place.

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