Statehouse Will Consider Bill on Regulating Drones


UPDATED: Tuesday July 23, 2013 1:53 AM

They're eyes in the sky capable of getting a bird's eye view to spy and help law enforcement.

"Drones are coming. There's no doubt about it," says Gary Daniels Associate Director of the ACLU.

Daniels says the drones one day flying over Ohio won't carry weapons. Instead, they will be used to watch what happens on city streets. He says they'll look a lot like the drones being researched at Ohio University.

"Right now, police and other law enforcement are free to use whenever and however they choose. We feel that there needs to be some baseline restrictions," Daniels told 10TV's Jason Frazer.

Todd Thatcher, a legislative aide with Representative Rex Damschroder says his boss agrees. It's why Damschroder is sponsoring House Bill 207.

"What House Bill 207 gets to is saying that law enforcement agencies can only use drones in specified circumstances," says Thatcher.

Under the proposed law, police could use a drone if a suspect escapes from jail like last year in Fairfield County.
In the majority of cases, H.B. 207 would require police to obtain a search warrant

"If the Department of Homeland Security determines that there is a credible risk of a terrorist attack then these types of devices could be used," says Thatcher.

Daniels says the proposed rules aren't enough.

"We would like to see that pertain to other law enforcement agencies also so that law enforcement can't do an end around for instance having the fire department collect information," says Daniels.

10TV contacted several law enforcement agencies in Central Ohio to see if they were considering obtaining drones.  All of them said they had no plans at this time.

The bill is in committee right now.

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