Drones Now Being Used by Police and Sheriffs in U.S.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Thomas Brossart and his two brothers first to be arrested with help from a drone (photo: Lake Region Law Enforcement Center)
The obsession with using unmanned aircraft in warfare has now shifted to the home front, where the federal government and local law enforcement are now using drones to catch criminals.
The first known drone-aided arrest took place in eastern North Dakota on June 24. Nelson County sheriffs watching a password-protected government website called Big Pipe were able to track three suspects wanted for 11 felony charges and one misdemeanor…harboring a stray cow.
At Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, local police have taken advantage of two drones stationed there to fly at least two dozen surveillance missions since June. The aircraft are under the control of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which operates eight Predators along the United States’ northern and southwestern borders to search for illegal immigrants and smugglers.
In addition to the Border Patrol, the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have used drones for other domestic investigations. Predator B drones being relocated from Iraq are expected to show up in Texas to patrol the border with Mexico.
Former Representative Jane Harman (D-California), who once chaired the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, told the Los Angeles Times that officials from the Bush and Obama administration never discussed with her the idea of using Predators to help local police do their jobs.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Police Employ Predator Drone Spy Planes on Home Front (by Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times)
Leaving Iraq, U.S. Plans to Send Troops to Kuwait, Drones to Turkey and Texas (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Coming to a Neighborhood Near You…Drones You Can’t See (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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