Source: Paul D. Shinkman, Mark Segraves,

WASHINGTON – Drones in the skies over Northern Virginia makes sense, though they likely won’t be monitoring the District in the near future, says the D.C. chief of police, also a homeland security expert.

Chief Cathy Lanier, who founded the department’s first Homeland Security/Counter-Terrorism Branch, has been following the use of drones since they were first implemented over American soil in Arizona to help monitor the U.S.-Mexican border.

“There are a lot of different uses for it,” Lanier told WTOP while speaking on “Ask the Chief.” She doesn’t have any plans to purchase drones for D.C. use at this time, saying they wouldn’t be useful.

“I think it’s entirely different for a sprawling county like Fairfax,” she says.

In April, the Fairfax County chief of police said drones would “certainly” come to the skies over the Beltway.

“Drones will certainly have a purpose and a reason to be in this region in the next, coming years,” Fairfax County Police Chief David Rohrer told WTOP. “Just as a standpoint as an alternative for spotting traffic and sending information back to our VDOT Smart Traffic centers, and being able to observe backups.”

Learn more about drones over Virginia, and concerns over privacy protections by following this link.

Lanier says the use of drones wouldn’t assist her officers combat D.C. crimes.

Violent crimes are up 14 percent since last year, she says.

She has also noticed a rise in “snatch” crimes, recommending pedestrians don’t text while walking. Her initiative to work with cell phone companies to “brick” stolen phones so they cannot be resold won’t take effect until October.

A recent proposal to extend the hours during which bars can serve alcohol won’t cause additional crimes or disturbance, she said.

“I really don’t see it as a huge problem,” she says. “If there is a problem, it will be at the same places where we have problems now.”