In Hartford, Connecticut the police department plans to deploy drones throughout Hartford neighborhoods, however, the Hartford City Council seeks to oversee the use of drones by law enforcement including the type of equipment they use, monitoring of their use and data retention practices. Police Chief David Rosado said, “This ordinance, as currently proposed, would significantly slow our progress in utilizing new technology to enhance public safety. We have and we will continue to work with city council members and other stakeholders as we try to come to a consensus on how best to move forward.”
This proposed ordinance not only affects the use of drones for surveillance, but requires all city agencies to obtain permission for all current and new methods of surveillance, including license plate readers, body cameras, video and audio recording systems, facial and voice recognition software and gunshot detection hardware.
Currently, Hartford police officials estimate that there are at least 30 programs, more than 900 cameras throughout the city and 325 officers with body cameras beginning this year. The Hartford City Council’s ordinance requires the police to seek approval for all existing programs within the next 120 days. The Council will then make a decision on the request within 180 days and if approval is not received, the police must halt their use of the technology.
Hartford’s Mayor, Luke Bronin, said, “We are committed to ensuring that there are appropriate policies in place to protect privacy, and we’ve also heard loud and clear from many residents and neighborhood groups who have urged us to put technology to use.”
The proposed ordinance is currently under review by the city’s attorney, Howard Rifkin.