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North Dakota and Police Drone Use

Police DronesDrones are currently one of the most debated topics out there, because more and more people are getting interested in them and organizations are getting interested in the technologies that can be taken care of with these devices. The most prominent example was Amazon’s use of drone technology (which is still being developed), but now law enforcement is getting in on how they can start to use it as well.

North Dakota, however, has decided that they don’t want the police force to be able to use these drones for whatever it is they want to do with them. The law, in short, shows that police can use drones, but they have to use them within the parameters that are set for them by the law. Surveillance, for example, has to have a warrant associated with it. This makes a lot of sense, because it’s no different than sending your people out there to do the same thing.

One of the most interesting statements on the law has to do with the use of lethal weapons. The law states that you cannot use lethal weapons on a drone. So, of course, that brings up a point – are they allowed to use non-lethal weapons on those same drones? With the way that the law is currently worded, the assumption is yes. So, in North Dakota, you could end up seeing drones that have pepper spray and tear gas in order to try and deal with a crowd or a protest. Some people are nervous about this, because it means that a nonhuman is being utilized in order to get people “under control;” others claim that it will help to keep police safer in case there is an incident like a riot.

The law is definitely at the forefront when it comes to police drone use, and many states will probably look to these laws in order to try and figure out whether or not they want to make the same sort of laws applicable to those that are working with these machines.

What do you think about drone use by law enforcement? Do you believe that this is a good way to go about how those things should be used? Should they be used in any legal context? Let us know your thoughts and give us ideas of the laws that you would write related to this issue.