• New legislation looks at expanding drone usage for law enforcement

    By: Alicia Tarancon , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    You may have seen drones buzzing around or zipping through the sky. Some can take pictures and even collect video and they could soon be in the hands of police officers and deputies not only here in the Jacksonville area but throughout the state of Florida. 

    Action News Jax spoke to the lawmaker behind the Bill HB 75 and the idea is that police officers would get to use drones like this for collecting evidence at crime scenes, traffic accidents and crowd control.

    State Rep. Clay Yarborough has been working the bill to expand drone usage to law enforcement in Florida since last year. 

    Yarborough says these unmanned aircraft could be a vital tool for officers around the state especially when there’s an emergency. 

    “You can get a drone going much faster and less costly than you would a helicopter, so they can still use those but to give them the ability to use the drones is a very efficient way to essentially be able to do the same thing,” said Yarborough. 

    Dale Carson our Action News Jax law and safety expert says the biggest concern is privacy, for example if a drone flies up and peers inside your window, Carson told us that’s a violation of your 4th Amendment right to privacy. 

    “Do you think that an officer is going to fly up next to the house and not look in the window, I don’t think that’s possible,” said Carson. 

    He said rules need to be put in place to protect everyone’s privacy. 

    Tim Owen has lived in Jacksonville his whole life and he told us despite the privacy concerns, he would put his trust in his local law enforcement. 

    “We trust them with our lives, they carry guns, they watch over our laws and if you can trust them for that, I don’t see why you couldn’t trust them flying a drone,” said Owen. 

    The bill is set to go to session in March 2019
     

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