Drones

Program overview

We are creating a program to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), also known as drones, to help with public safety activity and emergency response. This is similar to programs put in place by more than 80 law enforcement agencies in Minnesota.

The City’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles will be guided by Minnesota State Statutes 626.19

Using drones in appropriate and authorized circumstances will help provide safety for community members and officers, especially when other resources are not available or might be less effective.

Potential ways a drone will be used 

Most authorized uses require a search warrant. 

Per State Statute, our drone can also be used in these scenarios:

  • During or in the aftermath of an emergency situation that involved a risk of death or bodily harm
  • Over a public event where there is a heightened risk to the safety of participants or bystanders
  • To address the risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization if it is determined that credible intelligence indicates a risk
  • To prevent the loss of life and property in natural or man-made disasters and to facilitate operational planning, rescue, and recovery operations in the aftermath
  • To conduct a threat assessment in advance of a specific event
  • To collect information from a public area if there is a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity
  • To collect information for crash reconstruction purposes after a serious or deadly collision on a public road
  • Over a public area for officer training or public relations purposes
  • At the written request of a government entity for a specific cause

Chaska PD will report these types of uses to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

Prohibited uses 

The drones will not be used in the following situations:

  • To conduct random surveillance activities. Its use will comply with constitutional and privacy rights.
  • To target a person based solely on individual characteristics, like race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation.
  • To harass, intimidate or discriminate against any individual or group.
  • To conduct personal business of any type.
  • To collect data on public protests or demonstrations.

Other limitations:

  • Drone will not be equipped with weapons.
  • Drone will not use facial recognition or other biometric-matching technology.

Documenting uses

  • Each use of the drone will be documented and reviewed
  • 3rd-party software will store all flight data, including dates, times, altitude, speed, and direction of the drone. Complaints can be investigated using the stored flight data.

Chaska PD policy

Policies for the Chaska Police Department’s drone use will be on our website once the program is in place. It is expected that the Chaska Police Department will take public feedback on the program from February 6-20, 2024.

Chaska PD's drone platforms and pilots (operators will adhere to strict FAA rules and regulations similar to manned aircraft.

View Chaska Police Department's Unmanned Aerial System Operations Policy (PDF).