Tea Time With Jesse

Six of One, Half Dozen the Other

And so it begins…

Posted by middlerage on March 8, 2013

Monroe plans to buy drone with infrared camera
Published: March 8, 2013 Updated 4 hours ago
The Associated Press
MONROE, N.C. — Monroe City Council has approved buying a drone for its police department.
The council voted this week to spend $44,000 in drug forfeiture funds to buy a battery-powered mini-drone
with a rotating infrared camera.
City officials say detailed policies will be in place before they use the drone. Officials expect to use it at
crime scenes, in searches or in case of natural disasters.
Not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.
“We’ll have a lot of citizens say, ‘I don’t want that thing flying over my neighborhood,’ and I agree with them
100 percent,” Councilwoman Margaret Desio said Thursday.
American Civil Liberties Union chapters in North Carolina and 22 other states filed public records requests
Thursday asking police agencies to explain how they are using drones and other equipment chiefly used by
the military.
The requests in North Carolina include police departments in Burke, Cabarrus, Catawba, Gaston,
Mecklenburg and Union counties.
“We’re concerned about public support and public input into its use. We’re concerned about whether it’s
cost effective. And we have broader concerns when these sort of tactics come into play.” said Chris Brook,
a legal director at the ACLU’s North Carolina chapter.
Monroe Police Chief Debra Duncan said concerns about privacy and other issues will be addressed in the
policy for the device’s use.
“It’s not like we’re going to send it up and see what you are doing in your backyard,” Major Bryan Gilliard
said. “It’s for community safety.”
Duncan says it will be several months before the drone is ready. It is 3 feet long and weighs 2.5-pounds.

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6 Responses to “And so it begins…”

  1. Dahveed said

    It’s funny. I’m definitely uneasy about cops having drones. But I really would love to have one of these: http://www.dji-innovations.com/products/phantom/overview/ It’s incredibly sophisticated. It uses a built-in GPS to hover at a specific location, a built-in compass to orient the drone and camera to point in a particular direction; and it has a “phone home” mode where it will auto-pilot and land itself at the launch location if it loses contact with the remote controller. Amazing technology for $700. I’d like to have one just to take cool aerial videos and photos, and I’m not talking about spying. 😉

    • middlerage said

      me too. That looks like $700 well spent.
      I think our democracy works better with parity between government and citizens. If they get drones, so should we. I’m bothered that Virginia has historically been successful in the courts outlawing radar detectors. The cops transmit radio, and you receive it. (okay microwave, but still…)
      Many years ago I was aware of a project at MIT (that may still exist) that was devoted to collecting as much in about government as it was collecting on us.

  2. caprockwx said

    I thought of a good use for drones after reading yet another story about poachers killing elephants. Drones could patrol preserves and probably gather a lot more intelligence/evidence on the poachers. And if they were armed with a few missiles…

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