Community Feedback Sought on Draft Unmanned Aircraft Systems Policies

Published on November 16, 2023

The Arlington County Fire Department, Police Department, Sheriff’s Office and Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management are actively developing a joint public safety Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) program, commonly referred to as drones, designed to enhance Arlington County’s ability to respond to public safety and emergency incidents through the deployment of remotely operated aircrafts.

Arlington County is seeking the public’s input and feedback on draft policies regulating the training, operations, and oversight of the program. All comments provided will be reviewed and evaluated for incorporation into the policies. Provide your comments here by Monday, Jan. 1, 2024.

The draft policies were developed after an extensive review of model policies and recommendations by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and policies of police departments across the country with established UAS programs. The goal is to create model policies for Arlington County, utilizing established best practices while ensuring compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. 

Draft Policies 

Questions related to the draft policies can be emailed to ACPDpolicy@arlingtonva.us

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Background 

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) provide enhanced operational capability, safety, and situational awareness for first responders in support of public safety. The UAS Program will only be utilized for specific public safety missions and will be operated only by trained and authorized personnel in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. For additional information on the UAS program, including answers to frequently asked questions, visit our website. 

Implementation of the program is anticipated in early 2024 following the completion, review, and incorporation of community feedback on the draft policies.  

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