As police drone use grows (and grows) across the America landscape, legislators are taking notice and debating bills that either expand or regulate law-enforcement use of UAVs, as well as reviewing anti-drone sentiments.
In Kentucky, State Rep. Linda Belcher has introduced a bill that would ban the use of drones for “harassment, voyeurism, video voyeurism and use to facilitate a burglary or trespassing.” The bill comes on the heels of a high-profile case in which a court exonerated a man after he shot down a UAV.
As first reported in DRONELIFE: “William Meredith of Bullit County … picked up his shotgun and disposed of a drone belonging to [David] Boggs. Meredith was charged with criminal mischief and wanton endangerment when he shot down the drone. Meredith claimed the drone was spying on his family. After hearing testimony, the judge ruled in favor of Meredith saying, “’He had a right to shoot at the drone, and I’m going to dismiss the charge.’” The ruling prompted a lawsuit by Boggs and a bill from Belcher.
“The purpose is accountability, letting everyone know the expectations what you should be doing with drones and what she shouldn’t be,” Belcher added.
Meanwhile, State Rep. Diane St. Onge is introducing legislation that would outlaw drone weaponization and ensure police obtain a search warrant prior to any drone-related searches.
Following publicized cases of UAVs interfering with firefighters in California last year, Utah lawmakers want to give police the authority to “neutralize” errant drones — either through signal jamming or the simpler expedient of shooting them from the skies.
If passed into law, the bill, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Harper, would be the first of its kind on the books in any state. However, Harper postponed a committee vote after several questions were raised including: “How could law enforcement tell the difference between a recreational drone and a commercial drone when it’s hundreds of feet in the air?”
Rep. David Lifferth is offering a similar bill which would allow emergency workers to down a drone if it interferes with firefighting efforts.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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