The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has received the green light to launch an $80,000 drone program to enhance surveillance capabilities in various situations. However, critics fear potential civil rights violations due to the program.

The Portland City Council has approved up to $80,000 from the PPB budget to purchase a dozen unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

These flying cameras are expected to expedite visual scoping and mapping of incident areas compared to conventional photography and video methods.

The PPB’s plan involves a year-long drone program, with initial deployment in the traffic and explosives division.

The police drones will be used for various purposes, including documenting major crash scenes, search and rescue efforts, surveilling suspicious items such as explosives, assessing damage and risks during emergencies, and locating armed suspects in hostage situations with the approval of a critical incident commander.

Despite the outlined objectives,…