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sUAS Program Update

On October 30, 2018, the Marin County Sheriff’s Office launched their Unmanned Aerial Systems Program.  The Sheriff’s Office provided an email address, so the public could ask questions about the program.  Here are the questions we received.

Will the unmanned aerial vehicles be used for surveillance?

No, the following are the authorized missions for the sUAS program

  • Post-incident crime scene preservation and documentation
  • Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) missions
  • Response to hazardous materials spills
  • Search and Rescue (SAR) missions
  • Public safety and life preservation missions, which include, but are not limited to barricaded suspects, hostage situations, active shooters, apprehension of armed and dangerous and/or violent fleeing suspects
  • Disaster response and recovery to include natural or human caused disasters, including a full overview of a disaster area for post incident analysis and documentation
  • Authorized training missions
  • In response to specific requests from local, state or federal fire authorities for fire response and prevention
  • Pursuant to a search warrant or consent

Will the unmanned aerial vehicles be used to assist U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?

Absolutely NOT!  The Sheriff’s Office does not enforce immigration laws.  

How long will the data be retained?

  • Non-evidentiary recordings shall be retained for a minimum of 60 days.
  • Evidentiary recordings shall be retained for a minimum of 2 years.

Upon completion of each mission, the recorded data shall be reviewed and evaluated for evidentiary value.  Retention is established by state and federal mandates along with the County of Marin’s Records Retention Schedule.

Pursuant to Government Code section 6254 (California Public Records Act), the Sheriff’s Office considers all sUAS data that is gathered during the course of an investigation to be a “law enforcement investigatory file” and exempt from disclosure under the CPRA.

 All sUAS commanders, pilots and observers will consider the protection of individual civil rights and the reasonable expectation of privacy as a key component of any decision made to deploy the sUAS.  Each pilot and observer will ensure that operations are consistent with all laws.

 If you have questions about this program, please email us at: