I just saw a poll that asked the question, “Do you believe Police Departments should operate drones”? Most people who responded to the non-scientific poll (which is why I’m not publishing it), still believe that Police Departments SHOULD NOT have Drones and I Agree.
Now, I’m not concerned with the tiny drones that a department can use to scout out a house before the SWAT Team is preparing to enter once they determine that they have the correct house, proper warrant to enter and search, and a legal cause to break someone’s Constitutional rights and enter someone’s house. I’m not concerned about the battery operated four fan drones with the cameras that can fly under 50 feet and have no sensors on them, but enable police to see whats on the other side of a fence. No!
But This Is Not Where We Will End Up
Although, I’m NOT concerned about the small drones I’m afraid that the use of these small [lets call them] “Tactical” drones will give way to the larger drones that will inevitably come. Police Departments will NOT be content with “tools”, they will want drone “programs”. They will recognize that police helicopters are limited and that drones with hi-tech sensors will not only save money, but will be able to linger above cities for days (some drones can linger in the skies for up to 42 hours). Police will claim that they are valuable tools in helping officer safety and tracking down bad guys. They will claim that drones are merely a replacement to Police Helicopters and that the people should not fear thier use.
But what every government will find is that the citizenry will not want to pay for such drones and Police Departments will not be able to afford them. So instead of accepting that the citizens of a city do not want them, there will be the inevitable Federal Drone Grant to supply them to local governments. With that grant will be the obligation (or even requirement) that the Federal Government have access to them upon National Security necessity. Just as Homeland Security 911 Grants benefited the Federal Government, so will a drone grant. We are already seeing Federal Law Enforcement agencies, such as the Customs And Border Protection (CBP) using drones and we have already seen the first case in which a Predator drone [A Homeland Security Predator] was used to help the Grand Forks, North Dakota Police Department arrest Rodney Brassart because he claimed 6 cows that entered his land.
Imagine larger police Departments, such as Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) or the New York Police Department (NYPD) with Predator Drones maintaining a permanent presence at 35,000 feet, above those city’s with the ability to zoom in and watch your vehicle as you leave your house and arrive at your destination when it isn’t the government’s business where you travel. Your privacy is sacred and it is a Constitutional Right (Privacy). Until there is evidence of wrongdoing and a warrant has been issued, police, or government should not concern itself.
There used to be a time when I despised much of what the ACLU got involved in, but lately, although scary, I find myself despising them less. They share the premise that the government must be opposed by someone. Do you really trust the government to utilize drones AND protect your rights? Just remember what government tried to argue with GPS transmitters.