The chiefs of Evanston’s fire and police departments won approval from aldermen Monday to accept grant funding to purchase an unmanned aerial vehicle for use by their departments.

Fire Chief Brian Scott said the device would have thermal imaging capability that would be very useful in search and rescue operations and to provide firefighters with additional information to help them more safely fight fires.

Scott said the agencies would follow all state and federal regulations to protect constitutional and privacy rights.

Police Chief Demitrous Cook said the department would follow state laws that limit surveillance activities.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, said the city doesn’t have the luxury of not taking threats to public safety seriously and praised the chiefs for their effort to get the grant.

Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, said she wanted more information about the regulations regarding drone use.

Members of the Administration and Public Works Committee approved accepting the grant award on a 5-0 vote and it was approved on the consent agenda at the full City Council meeting.

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Council asked to OK public safety drone use (1/9/20)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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