Demonstrating its commitment to operating an innovative, efficient and safe city, the City of Sacramento is rolling out new and cutting-edge drone programs.
Drone use across the U.S. has increased significantly over the past several years and four City departments have developed drone programs that decrease overall costs by improving efficiency. These programs also improve safety for employees performing tasks such as building or levee inspection while maintaining the privacy of all residents.
“We are excited to use new solutions to improve the safety for our staff out in the field,” said Chris Conlin, assistant city manager for public safety. “While the City’s drone programs will keep costs down and staff safe, they also are designed to respect the privacy of everyone in Sacramento.”
City departments using drones have developed procedures in a responsible manner and are in direct communication with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to discuss appropriate operations, officials said. All operators hold an FAA Remote Pilot Certificate and go through reoccurring training.
Officials emphasized that the City’s drone programs will not be utilized for the surveillance of individuals. Many of the drones used by the City will not record video when they are operated. City departments will be presenting information about its drone programs to City Council at 2 p.m. March 10.
Below is a list of ways the City plans to use drones:
- The Community Development Department uses drones during building inspections. The department expects a large increase in solar panel installations on residential homes due to new state requirements, and the program will help keep their inspectors safe on the ground.
- The Department of Utilities (DOU) uses drones to inspect critical or inaccessible infrastructure such as levees, creeks, channels and DOU treatment plants.
- The Sacramento Police Department has started to use drones to provide an option for officers to conduct area searches, building searches or searches for missing persons.
- The Sacramento Fire Department plans to utilize drone technology for damage assessments, emergency response and fire investigations.