LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) acquired by the LAPD will remain grounded until lawmakers can establish specific policies governing their use, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday.
During Wednesday’s “Ask The Mayor” call-in segment on KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO, Garcetti said that UAVs – or drones – could be used in hostage standoffs and other similar law enforcement situations, but that their operation should be strictly limited.
“I’ve asked them to be grounded until we have a policy, until we have community input,” Garcetti said. “I don’t want these things up in the air until we know for sure they’re not going to be used against innocent folks.”
The LAPD obtained the drones from the Seattle Police Department in May at no cost to the city after their use was vetoed by former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, according to officials.
“I don’t want to have UAVs flying over the city looking at the general population, trying to find crime,” he said. “That’s creepy, that’s not the place for these things.”
Garcetti also addressed complaints about the ongoing fight over ride-sharing apps like Uber and Sidecar that spurred traditional cab drivers and a pair of City Council members to stage a protest Tuesday at City Hall.
The mayor said despite the popularity of Uber and other services, he remains sensitive to complaints that the smartphone apps are unfair to traditional cabbies.
“I think that the shared car companies have helped us improve our technology…we’ve already seen this with taxi companies making things more customer-focused, more convenient, and more acceptable,” said Garcetti. “On the flip side, I want to make sure we have the same level playing field on insurance and safety.”
Garcetti signaled he may consider an overhaul of the traditional taxi licensing process and possibly moving to a medallion system of independent operators similar to the one in place in New York City.
Listen to the entire “Ask The Mayor” segment with Mayor Garcetti below: