The Phoenix Police Department will purchase drones after the city council approved the measure this week. An ambush that injured nine officers last week highlighted the need for the unmanned aerial vehicles.
On Monday, City Councilwoman Ann O'Brien submitted a memo to the City Manager's Office, calling for a vote by the city council to approve the purchase of drones for the police department as soon as possible.
Last week, nine officers were wounded and a woman was killed when a suspect barricaded himself in a home before taking his own life, according to Phoenix-based KPNX. During the incident, it was determined a drone would need to be used to neutralize the situation for the safety of the officers, according to O'Brien. She said the department had to rely on a drone from a neighboring town since Phoenix Police do not have any drones. A Police spokesperson told Government Fleet that the borrowed drone was used to obtain a visual on the suspect to determine if he was still a threat before officers entered the home after the standoff ended.
The police department was in the process of getting drones, but would not have gotten them for another year.
According to KPNX, the purchase for the drones will cost just over half a million dollars. The city will use $516,400 to buy the drones, train personnel, and pay for other expenses related to the program.
City council staff estimated it will take three to six months for the city to purchase the drones and get them to the department. In the meantime, the city will write and approve the safety and privacy regulations that will govern the department's use of drones.
KPNX reported that Police told the City Council the drones would be used in almost all aspects of its operations: accident reconstruction, large events, natural disasters, and tactical situations.