The following Drone Policy is hereby adopted by the City and County of San Francisco’s Committee on Information and Technology (COIT), and will apply to all City employees and City contractors.

PURPOSE AND SCOPE

The City and County of San Francisco (“City”) is dedicated to embracing technologies that help improve its services while protecting the privacy and safety of its residents. The use of drones in the public interest is expected to benefit residents and visitors to the City through the more efficient use of City resources. The term “drone” means an unmanned aircraft flown by a pilot via a ground control system, or autonomously through use of an on-board computer, communication links or other any additional equipment.

This Drone Policy (“Policy”) is intended to guide officers, employees, and contractors of participating departments with pre-approved drone programs. This Policy is subject to a one-year evaluation period. After the evaluation period, a Drone Oversight Committee composed of representatives from the Mayor’s Office, the City Administrator, and COIT will review the drone programs of all participating departments and provide recommendations to COIT on revisions to this Policy, as necessary.

This Policy applies to all to departments participating in the City’s drone program, including boards and commissions, employees, contractors, and volunteers. Elected officials, employees, consultants, volunteers, and vendors while working on behalf of the City are required to comply with this Policy.

POLICY STATEMENT

The City’s Drone Policy requires each participating department to adopt a policy that reflects the requirements iterated in this document. Departments may add requirements to their drone policies, but may not remove  any requirement in this document, or use drones for any reason outside the “use cases” identified for each department. All department policies must be approved by COIT staff before any authorized use.

The departmental drone policy must be reviewed and signed by all drone operators in participating departments, and any individuals with access to drone data that may contain Personal Identifiable Information. Engaging in the unauthorized use of drones or activities that are inconsistent with this Policy may subject an officer or employee to discipline, up to and including termination of employment or removal from office, as well as to applicable monetary fines and penalties. Nothing in this Policy shall modify or reduce any due process rights provided pursuant to the officer or employee’s collective bargaining agreement.

The authorized use of drones is limited to the following Department use cases. Department Authorized Use Controller’s Office Disaster Response & Recover: Aerial review of areas affected by disasters or emergencies. Fire Department Disaster Response: Assessment and District Surveys Emergency Response: Building Fire Reconnaissance Search & Rescue: Aerial or water borne drones. Training: Assessment and evaluation of emergency response operations. Public Utilities Construction Management: Inspection of project sites for contract and environmental compliance. Environmental Monitoring & Documentation: Vegetation type and health, wildlife, streams/reservoirs. Inspections: Surveys and assessments of SFPUC properties and assets. Port Disaster Response & Recovery: Inspections during and after a disaster. Inspections: Surveys and assessments of Port properties. Marketing: Capture video and still photographs. Recreation & Parks - Construction Management: Inspection of SFRPD project sites for contract and environmental compliance. - Disaster Response & Recovery: Inspection of properties, facilities, and assets during and after disasters. - Emergency Response: Park Rangers rapid response to emergencies on park land. - Environmental Monitoring: Flora and fauna type and health, spills and leaks, erosion. - Inspections: Surveys and assessments of SFRPD properties, facilities, and assets. - Mapping: Digital elevation models, land use maps, 3D models, contours. - Marketing: Capture videos and still photographs. - Search & Rescue: Reconnaissance and assist during an emergency, both for water and land operations.

 

The authorized use of drones is limited to the following Department use cases.

Department Authorized Use
Controller’s Office
  • Disaster Response & Recover: Aerial review of areas affected by disasters or emergencies.
Fire Department
  • Disaster Response: Assessment and District Surveys.
  • Emergency Response: Building Fire Reconnaissance. Rescue: Aerial or water borne drones. Training: Assessment and evaluation of emergency response operations.
Public Utilities
  • Construction Management: Inspection of project sites for contract and environmental compliance.
  • Environmental Monitoring & Documentation: Vegetation type and health, wildlife, streams/reservoirs. Inspections: Surveys and assessments of SFPUC properties and assets.
Port
  • Disaster Response & Recovery: Inspections during and after a disaster.
  • Inspections: Surveys and assessments of Port properties. Marketing: Capture video and still photographs.
Recreation & Parks
  • Construction Management: Inspection of SFRPD project sites for contract and environmental compliance.
  • Disaster Response & Recovery: Inspection of properties, facilities, and assets during and after disasters.
  • Emergency Response: Park Rangers rapid response to emergencies on park land.
  • Environmental Monitoring: Flora and fauna type and health, spills and leaks, erosion.
  • Inspections: Surveys and assessments of SFRPD properties, facilities, and assets.
  • Mapping: Digital elevation models, land use maps, 3D models, contours.
  • Marketing: Capture videos and still photographs.
  • Search & Rescue: Reconnaissance and assist during an emergency, both for water and land operations.