As Los Angeles police pitched their plan to fly drones Wednesday night in a series of forums held across the city, the reaction was less positive than they might have hoped.

Dozens of residents expressed concern ranging from skepticism to outright opposition to any use of drones by the Los Angeles Police Department, telling department brass they were worried about their privacy, over-militarization of the police and that the devices would be flown far more than the LAPD has pledged.

“I wish the trust was there,” said one woman at a meeting held near Griffith Park. “I wish that I could say, ‘Oh great, please do it.’ But you guys really need to earn back some trust in the community. It’s not there.”

The LAPD’s proposal to fly drones during a one-year pilot program is still in the early stages — the civilian Police Commission must sign off on the pilot program and a policy for testing the drones before any are flown, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Officials said use of the drones would be limited: standoffs with hostage takers or barricaded suspects, bomb scares and shootings in which a gunman is still targeting people. Department brass have said the devices could help gather crucial information as those incidents evolve without putting officers at risk.

 

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