Sheriff’s Office Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Program

Background

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), commonly referred to as “drones”, provides Deputy Sheriffs with the ability to make observations from an overhead, aerial position and provide vital updates to first responders in a variety of crucial public safety missions. UAS may collect and store still images, video footage, and location data as part of approved uses similar to how our current helicopter (STAR 1) video system operates. The Sheriff’s Office does not currently have any UAS in inventory; However, the department plans to pursue this valuable asset to support public safety operations. The use of UAS would provide for immediate deployment throughout our communities and improved cost efficiency.

UAS is defined as “military equipment” under AB 481 - Category 1 (Unmanned, remotely piloted, powered aerial or ground vehicles). As such, the Sheriff’s Office will be seeking approval from the Board of Supervisors for approval to funding, acquisition and use of this important asset.

Draft UAS Policy

Sheriff’s Office DRAFT General Order #19.04 is the department’s policy and details the purpose, authorized use, and other parameters surrounding this equipment. The DRAFT Policy is available to view here.

Public Input Regarding UAS

The Sheriff’s Office would also like the input from our community members and will be holding a virtual town hall in the near future. Details of that town hall will be publicized on our website and on our social media platforms.

Members of the public are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (408) 808-4400 or by contacting the Military Equipment Coordinator via email at [email protected] with any questions or concerns.  

©2022 County of Santa Clara. All rights reserved.