Chinese Drones Used By Battle Creek Police Raise Questions
The Battle Creek City Police Department took delivery on three donated drones this month. They are designed specifically to assist law enforcement departments with cameras, loudspeakers, and lights. Those features in particular can be of assistance for a department that needs to interact with groups of people outside who are not social distancing. You can swoop in with a drone from far away and offer some guidance on following safety guidelines using the speaker system without having to make direct contact. The Drones are made by DJI – a well known Chinese electronics and drone manufacturer. A few dozen police departments nationwide are taking advantage of the company’s loan program. Battle Creek for instance gets to use the drones for 3 months, then return two, and the department gets to keep the other one. It’s the Chinese connection that has some US security specialists concerned. DJI executives say America has nothing to fear from its drones and their intelligence gathering capabilities. FOX news reports, U.S. intelligence officials were worried enough about DJI drones to ground its entire fleet. City leaders are so far defending use of the Chinese drones saying officers have full control over what they do and the data they capture.