MayorWhiteChiefHurtt's latest big idea

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HPD wants drones. For traffic management. Really.

KHOU-11’s Jeff McShan has the story:

Sources tell 11 News that Mayor Bill White, and Police Chief Harold Hurtt came up with the idea to use drones — unmanned flying machines — to help with traffic mobility.


They could also be used for police tactical situations. Like the SWAT incident at NASA in April.

Executive Assistant Chief Martha Montalva confirmed the department is close to making it happen.

“And what’s important and what needs to get out there is we are doing this in cooperation and assistance with the FAA,” said Montalva.

A few police agencies across the country have tried to use drones in the past two years, but most have been unsuccessful.

11 News learned the drones that were used were like small model airplanes, some costing just $30,000.

Houston will be different, Montalvo says.

“I can tell you right now, I don’t want to get into specifics, but we are looking at state of the art, actually drones that have been used by the military,” said Montalvo.

HPD and Miami’s police department have been talking with the FAA and drone manufactures about testing these large drones that cost about $1 million each.


KEVIN WHITED ADDS: TranStar has state of the art freeway monitoring capabilities, yet MayorWhiteChiefHurttMarthaMontalvo want to invest in drones at $1 million a pop to solve a traffic-monitoring “problem” that isn’t a problem (money that could be better invested in fighting crime on the ground)? That truly is unbelievable. Is there a drone manufacturer in the Phoenix area that stands to benefit from this? (Just to clarify, as per the comments — KHOU points out the drones will be “free” to the cities testing them. But, of course, they won’t be free forever, and it’s not clear that they are needed regardless).

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.