Sandy Springs Police are adding a drone to their arsenal after the City Council on May 16 accepted the donation of the device.

The Sandy Springs Police Department’s new drone on display at the May 16 City Council meeting. (John Ruch)

The DJI Mavic Pro drone is a gift from InterDev, the city’s IT contractor. The police department intends to use the camera-equipped drone for a wide range of surveillance and investigative purposes. But it will be at least a few months before it takes to the skies as the department writes a usage policy, gets federal certification and trains select officers to pilot it.

The police already have the drone. Deputy Chief Keith Zgonc and Capt. Dan Nable displayed it at the council meeting, taking it out of a heavy-duty plastic case and unfolding its X-shaped, propeller-tipped arms.

Sandy Springs Police Capt. Dan Nable holds the drone. (John Ruch)

“Does anybody want to look a gift drone in the mouth?” asked Mayor Rusty Paul.

City Councilmember John Paulson did, asking how long it would take to write the usage policy, “because this is a hot topic.” He noted “security” and “privacy” issues with the drone, asking as one example, “Do we save the footage?”

Zgonc said the policy will take about a month to develop, while Nable said the certification and training will take longer.

The drone joins the department’s fleet of three other robots.

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