Unmanned Aerial Systems ("Drones")

Unmanned Aerial Systems

In November of 2019, the Oxnard Police Department began operating small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), more commonly known as "drones" for public safety operations. Drones are tools that are rapidly becoming more integrated in public service, and have shown many safety-related uses.

The Oxnard Police Department is committed to using drones in a specific, structured, and transparent manner that addresses common concerns that the public expresses about them. Only a handful of personnel will operate them, and they will be highly trained to pilot them.

The Oxnard Police Department established a policy that states: “UAS Unit missions will be accomplished efficiently and safely while respecting the law and the privacy of the public. All UAS applications will obey Federal, State and City laws, and shall respect Constitutional rights, privacy rights, search and seizure regulations, and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.” This policy is available to the public on this web page (see link to the right).

The policy also specifies categories for their use:

  • Incident documentation (traffic collision diagramming, crime scene diagramming)

  • Field operations support

  • Tactical operations support

  • Investigative support

  • Area searches

  • Search and rescue

  • Explosive device investigation support

  • Hazardous material response operation support

  • Illegal fireworks enforcement

  • Firefighting operation support

  • Fire investigation support

  • Disaster / mass casualty event response and recovery operation support

  • Event planning and management

  • Aerial surveying and geographic information systems (GIS) support

  • Building and public works infrastructure inspection support

Our drones will not be used for random patrols.

The above photos depict the same location. The photo on the left is from a drone's vantage point during a search for a suspect, who is laying on the ground. The photo on the right depicts the same location, but with thermal imaging. In the photo at right, officers are approaching the suspect, who was taken into custody without incident.