Montgomery County Executive Halts Drone Program Indefinitely

As reported by the Washington Post, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has set aside a county drone program indefinitely stating that it is “not ready for prime time.”

A group of officials, led by chief innovation officer Dan Hoffman, told a County Council committee earlier this month that they had purchased four small, commercially available helicopter-style models of the unmanned craft to assess their possible use at fire scenes or during police emergencies.

Council members, expressing concerns about privacy and other issues, said they wanted staff to return with a firm set of policies and protocols covering drone use.

However, before that occurred, County Executive Leggett stepped in, stating he has both policy-based and personal reservations about drones.

“At this time, it’s not something that we need,” Leggett said. “I’m not sure there’s a demonstrated need.” He said Hoffman and public safety officials were “premature” in bringing the matter to the council.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the county council introduced a resolution requesting that the county executive provide a plan for the use of the drones for review and approval by the council.