Law enforcement and drone technology - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Law enforcement and drone technology

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By: Cole Miller
cmiller@klkntv.com

The drone discussion lands in the legislature's Judiciary Committee. It's been a controversial topic lately.
 
"If you have eyes in the skies, there's a lot of privacy that can be destroyed," Columbus senator Paul Schumacher said at Thursday's hearing.

He wants to pull the trigger before it's too late. By that, he means getting legislation passed to regulate the use of drones, in this case, flying robots with cameras.

"Over the last few years, drone technology has become a big thing," Schumacher said.

Under his proposal, the "Freedom From Unwarranted Surveillance Act," state and local law enforcement agencies would be prohibited from using drones to gather evidence of other information. If anything were collected in that matter, that evidence would hold no merit in a court of law.

Omaha senator Ernie Chambers supports the bill and the whole issue gets him fired up. 
 
"This is the kind of activity cops cannot be trusted with," Chambers said.

He went on to say that many police officers would simply 'toy around' with the technology, only fueling what he calls irresponsible behavior.

"The ones on the street that we deal with are rotten, and if it weren't true, I wouldn't say it."

Schumacher, however, says he's leaving the door open on this bill, allowing for certain exceptions down the road.

"There may very well be a list of exemptions where the legislature says, 'Okay, you made your case, law enforcement,'" Schumacher said. "In an active crime scene, to protect an officer, it's legitimate, or to search for a lost child."
 
The committee took no immediate action on the bill. Chambers says he will do just about anything in his power to get this discussion to the floor.

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