Unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) have been an important part of our military operation for years. Now they can finally play a role in civil life too.
It became the public knowledge of this month that the authorities used Predator B drone to avoid potentially violent confrontation in North Dakota last June. This is the first use of UAVs known to make arrests.
The problem began when six cows, worth $ 6,000, roaming a family farm owned by members of the Sovereign citizen movement, antigovernmental groups who consider extremists. When Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke arrived to investigate, he was allegedly threatened at the point of weapons. Police officers hesitate to make a second attempt to visit the property, worrying that it can spur violent clashes. So they borrowed drones from A.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
With drones, police officers can supervise family. Only after thermal imaging was taken from the drone revealed that the family had left their rifle behind whether the police moved. In property search, the police found four rifles, two rifles, various kinds of samurai bows and swords, as well as six cows. Alex, Thomas and Jacob Brossard, all the brothers, were arrested for terrorizing Sheriff during his first visit.
I last wrote about appointments using UAV for civilian needs at the end of September, before the drone role in the case of North Dakota was known. At that time, I thought that UAV could play an important role in making us all safer without sacrificing our fundamental rights. This new information underlines it.
The drone used by North Dakota police officers is one of the eight owned by the CBP. Bill Macki, head of the SWAT police team who helped make arrests, said that he had used drones several times since then. “Whatever we need advantage, we try to call them,” he said. Janke, Sheriff, explained in a telephone interview with the Los Angeles Times that the drone was useful because they allowed police officers to take their time and “methodically planned” approaches, rather than forced to “go radiant.” (1) Because the law enforcement drones can remain in the air for a long time, they are very helpful when the suspect can be anywhere in a large area, which is a common situation in the North Dakota ranks rarely.
However, most of our country’s UAVs have not made their debut on the land A.S. The military and the CIA have been given priority in obtaining this technology, which makes sense. But under the Posse Comitatus Act and the Department of Defense Regulation, the military was prohibited from being involved in domestic police work. The CIA is also limited to non-u’s operation. The fact that agents such as CBP and Coast Guard are under the department of domestic security, rather than the Department of Defense, opens several options for their equipment to be used for household needs, although with around 7,500 miles from the land border to patrol, eight CBP drones may not have a lot of downtime.
The arrival of UAVs in civil life has also been postponed by concerns over their ability to safely avoid other objects in the crowded sky. The administration of federal aviation currently train strict control over the use of UAVs in the domestic airspace.
While the technology is developing, however, we must focus on overcoming the bureaucratic obstacles that can make UAV enter the civil sky so safe for them to be there. We do not want to set a dangerous precedent by allowing non-controlled military, intelligence and border protection operations to replace the enforcement of civil law. I have, in fact, previously written about the problems that occur when CBP agents extend their reach outside the border. But the North Dakota case provides a model for how different mission institutions can share valuable equipment, such as UAV, while still carrying out their own functions. I see no reason why the police department or other institutions cannot borrow equipment and personnel from the military in the same way, as long as the civil agency remains completely controlling all civil operations.
UAV is a national asset, paid and managed by US taxes. The taxpayers deserve to receive the maximum benefits of their assets can be provided. If UAV can help monitor our military militants, then they must also be able to help Sheriff we monitor domestic armed men and ensure that stubborn livestock can be returned safely home.