California county postpones January drone hearing

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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California county officials have decided yet again to postpone discussion about a request by county law enforcement to purchase a drone.

Discussion by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors was initially expected during their December 2012 meeting, until Alameda County sheriff Greg Ahern withdrew his request to purchase the drone.

Ahern’s withdrawal of the proposal — which, if granted, would have allowed his office to purchase an unmanned aerial vehicle for hunting fugitives, responding to wildfires and conducting search and rescue operations — was reportedly not prompted by concerns raised by privacy advocates.

Outrage from privacy advocates over the request caused city officials in Berkeley, California to consider the creation of a “No Drone Zone” in the airspace over the city at the beginning of December 2012. The proposal for the “No Drone Zone” was ultimately rejected by the Berkeley City Council.

Ahern told local news outlet KQED that he had promised to take the issue to the Public Safety Committee before asking the Board of Supervisors to vote on his request.

A hearing is expected to happen early this year. However, the office of Alameda County Second District Supervisor Richard Valle, in a press release Friday, announced that that issue would not be taken up by the county’s Public Protection Committee during its January 10 meeting.

Funding for the purchase of the drone, which will cost $31,646, is part of a larger $1.2 million grant managed by the California Emergency Management Agency, according to the Oakland Tribune.

Representatives from Alameda County and the Alameda County sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment.

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