Leamington bringing in drone technology

A bylaw enforcement officer examines a set of drones. Photo submitted by Municipality of Leamington.

A Windsor-Essex community will soon have another set of eyes when it comes to enforcing bylaws.

The Municipality of Leamington is taking to the skies with the acquisition of a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), or commonly, a drone. The drone will be used simply to enhance the municipality’s information-gathering ability by using an approach by air.

“We are always looking for ways to utilize technology to enhance our service delivery,” said Leamington Chief Administrative Officer Peter Neufeld in a media release. “The key component of drone use for the Municipality is officer safety, as they can gather evidence more efficiently without having to enter the property on foot.”

The drone will be used only by the bylaw enforcement department at first. There are plans later in the year to expand its use to the Leamington Fire and Building Services departments.

With specific rules for the use of drone technology in law enforcement, Leamington will only use it when authorized by law, and only to obtain information about suspected property and land maintenance issues, or illegal operations such as cannabis grow-ops that do not meet the conditions of the federal Cannabis Act.

To address concerns about privacy, drone guidelines for law or bylaw enforcement are outlined on the Government of Canada’s Privacy Commissioner webpage.