Ohio’s Attorney General Publishes UAS Issues Report: Will Train Law Enforcement on UAS

Photo by Tysto: Public Domain

“Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced that his Advisory Group on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) has issued its final report, which includes a model policy for use by law enforcement,” says a press release from the Attorney General’s office.

“With advancements in technology and a decrease in the cost of unmanned aircraft systems, unmanned aircraft have become more common in communities and as tools of law enforcement,” said Attorney General DeWine. “The recommendations in this report will help law enforcement develop best practices and protocols that will ensure appropriate privacy, accountability, and oversight when unmanned aircraft are used.”

The report was sent to law enforcement agencies with a cover letter that acknowledged the public benefit of drones but emphasized concerns.  “While“drones”can be useful for agencies as eyes in the sky in missing persons cases, at crime scenes, and during SWAT operations, their use also raises public concerns about privacy, accountability, and oversight,” said the letter from DeWine.

The report made 14 recommendations for law enforcement agencies, including regular training for pilots and support crew, the regular inspection of hardware, and the development of policies for drone use by law enforcement.  In addition, the report provided a model policy framework for officers to use.  The model policy takes into consideration licensing, use, training, safety, and privacy concerns.

It’s a sensible approach that seems to provide law enforcement with the tools they need to get the most out of drone technology –  while offering the public some reasonable security that departments use drones safely and reasonably.  And Ohio is putting their money behind the program: “As a result of the recommendations, DeWine also announced that the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy within the Ohio Attorney General’s Office is crafting three new advanced courses on investigating UAS complaints, appropriate law enforcement uses for UAS, and implementation of UAS programs,” says the AG’s press release.

DeWine created the Ohio Attorney General’s Advisory Group on UAS in October 2016. The group was comprised of subject-matter experts and was chaired Cuyahoga Community College Police Chief Clayton Harris.