New technology maybe on the way for the Duluth Police Department

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The Duluth Citizen’s Review board held a conversation with the Duluth Police Department about adding drone options for law enforcement activities.

At Monday night’s meeting, the updated “Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations” policy was discussed, along with when the drones will be used and what their policy and procedures will look like.

“We understand their concerns over privacy with the newer technology. I think it is also important for our community to see that this technology can save lives,” said Duluth Police Chief Mike Ceynowa.

This new technology will also help officers in the field without putting themselves or the lives of their K-9s in jeopardy and helping to make our community safer when used properly and correctly.

“Most recently, there have been tragic events occur in our community with people who, at other times, have been suffering from mental health crises. We have been able to safely get them out because we found windows of opportunity to not put them, our officers, nor innocent bystanders, in harm’s way,” Ceynowa shared.

It was reported in 2021, that the Duluth police department used drones four times to collect information from a certain public area if reasonable suspicion of criminal activity occurred, and the usage came with a total price tag of $6,709.

For one person who attended the meeting, he shared that this was his first time sharing his viewpoint concerning topics that he is concerned about.

“What I saw was a proposal that neglected to represent some pretty crucial details surrounding privacy and the situations where those privacy concerns may arise,” Tim Carlson said.

And for Tim, there are still some things that still concern him, “I feel like the nuances of this problem make it very difficult to find a resolution right away. But I do feel that some of the concern was heard and addressed. Specifically, they addressed the need for a review period after enacting this policy.”

The online comment input is still open, and comments can be mailed to Lt. Steve Ring at the same address or emailed to The online comment timeline will be open for another two weeks and will close on November 9th. The “Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations” policy will be reviewed within the Duluth Police Department for further change and review of the policy.