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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Homeland Security Apparently Calls "No Givebacks!" on Seattle's Unwanted Police Drones

Posted by on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 1:07 PM

The Seattle Police Department tried to clarify a little something on the blotter yesterday, and ended up airing a whole new issue: We may not be able to return those controversial surveillance drones to the Department of Homeland Security after all.

The blotter post was intended to allay people's fears that SPD will suddenly start using drones again, since the city council just passed legislation governing their use. Titled "We Drone't Want Any Misunderstanding" (ha-ha!) and written by Sergeant Sean Whitcomb, it starts like this:

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Drones. Flying Robots.
Call them what you want. Just don't call them ours.

The SPD UAV program ended on February 7th. There are no plans to reinstate it.

While the vehicles haven't been returned to the vendor—a proposition more complex than expected— we're still working with DHS to determine their final disposition.

Wait, what? They haven't returned them? Mayor McGinn definitely said at the time of the program's end that "the vehicles will be returned to the vendor."

So I asked Sergeant Whitcomb what was making the drone return more complex than expected—did DHS yell, "No givebacks!" as SPD officials were walking away with their shiny new drones?

Whitcomb says: "They were gently used and the return policy had expired. Something to that effect."

Hey, SPD, lemme help you out here with a suggestion: Goldy says he wants a drone to go with his rocket launcher. I asked him how much he would pay for it, and he says, "It depends on the drone... If it was a really cool drone, I might spend a couple thousand dollars."

You heard it here first, SPD. Sure, each drone may have cost about $41,000 in federal grant money, but a couple grand ain't nothing! You have our phone number. Just ask for Goldy.


Comments (22) RSS

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seatackled 1
Iran might be willing to pony up more than just a couple of thousand.
Posted by seatackled on March 27, 2013 at 1:15 PM · Report this
Hey Goldy, I'll go in on one with ya.
Posted by Bean on March 27, 2013 at 1:31 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 3
The DHS are super-hero geeks that got tired of playing w/ action figures and like to play w/ actual humans. Hitting them w/ ray-guns (airport scanners), chasing "bad guys" (hispanic immigrants), and sending out cool-looking planes to spy on everybody.

The drones are no longer MIB (mint-in-box.) Of course they don't want them anymore.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on March 27, 2013 at 1:41 PM · Report this
theophrastus 4
donate them to a local school for a technology/science project. (make it the winning prize in a proposal to use them to map wet lands or some-such) hell, some Kansas university just established a degree in drones (or the dronological arts?)
Posted by theophrastus on March 27, 2013 at 1:45 PM · Report this
Former Lurker 5
costs nothing to destroy them. also makes for a powerful message
Posted by Former Lurker on March 27, 2013 at 2:10 PM · Report this
disintegrator 6
So... Craigslist?
Posted by disintegrator on March 27, 2013 at 2:12 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 7
@6 probably.
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 27, 2013 at 2:19 PM · Report this
pdonahue 8
Surplus drones shouldn't be a problem to move at the right price, I got my eye on the Tunnel Boring Machine they put in to the waterfront tunnel. Who's gonna want that when they finish?
Posted by pdonahue on March 27, 2013 at 2:28 PM · Report this
Turn them into public art!
Posted by westside on March 27, 2013 at 2:59 PM · Report this
NaFun 10
Continuously buzz the federal building!
Posted by NaFun on March 27, 2013 at 3:16 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 11
@9 maybe Seafair could use them?
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 27, 2013 at 3:30 PM · Report this
@10: Buzz the federal building with a flying camera to take some photos of a public building from a public place and they'll almost certainly send private security guards to tackle you or send Homeland Security Police to detain you for questioning.
Posted by Phil M on March 27, 2013 at 4:17 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 13
Do a Kickstarter to buy the drone, and then mount it on top of the corner of the Stranger office building, overlooking the park. Paint it bright colors.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on March 27, 2013 at 4:18 PM · Report this
GeneStoner 14
Goldy has a rocket launcher?

Just goes to show that even if the "Rocket-show loophole" were closed, mind-criminals could still get rocket-launchers...
Posted by GeneStoner on March 27, 2013 at 4:22 PM · Report this
I think the expression you're looking for is, "no backsies."
Posted by PCM on March 27, 2013 at 5:06 PM · Report this
Hmmm, Mayor Mac
say they go back...
Homeland say "He smokin' crack!""
"they DON'T go back, Jack!!!

Mayor just bought a drone,
got a drone of his own.
Leave SPD on the phone,
trying to loan the drone
so they ain't alone, with the bone.
Posted by pupuguru on March 27, 2013 at 5:27 PM · Report this
Why not give them (or rent them?) to USGS, NOAA, and Fish and Wildlife, find migrating whales, orcas, wolf packs, volcanic eruptions, fly them into hurricanes? Put bureaucracy’s petty cash to actual use.
Posted by hairyson on March 27, 2013 at 5:38 PM · Report this
They could pull the advertising banners for the Seahawks.... put purple lights on them and make night flights to give Fox News more UFO stories perhaps. Take very small tourists on scenic flights over Mt Rainier is a thought too. Maybe they could look for my stolen mountain bike. Yeah, actual use that's the ticket....
Posted by pupuguru on March 27, 2013 at 8:19 PM · Report this
Correct me if I am wrong, however they do not belong to the SPD. They belong to the City of Seattle, of which, the SPD is a wholly subordinate agency to the city. The city owns and determines the future of these devices. They are an asset. Sell, rent or lease them to agencies or to enterprises engaged in legitimate and legal pursuits.
Posted by Fairhaven on March 27, 2013 at 9:46 PM · Report this
Hay Goldy, you might want to use the drone to cruse the streets of Seattle searching for Pot Holes that need filling.
Posted by Gray Panther on March 28, 2013 at 12:18 AM · Report this
GlibReaper 21
Target practice. I'd pay good money to burn one out of the sky.
Posted by GlibReaper on March 28, 2013 at 4:11 AM · Report this
playswithknives 22
Put those fuckers on Craigslist!
Posted by playswithknives on March 29, 2013 at 11:41 PM · Report this

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