Will Your Public Safety Drone be Shot Down – Maybe

The White House has proposed giving law enforcement and security agencies the authority to disable drones in the air. That could include taking over your drone in flight or dropping it from the sky.

I completely understand there are valid issues that surround the uses of some civilian drones around places which may be sensitive.

However, as a public safety drone pilot, I feel less than confident that in an emergency situation when tensions and emotions are at a peak that some law enforcement agency is not going to be fully informed about the legitimate flight operations of the UAS I’m piloting and shoot it down or take it over.

If there was always a unified command that worked seamlessly, I would not be concerned, but for those of us flying real-world missions, a unified command structure can be a hopeful aspiration.

I’m curious who is going to be financially responsible for the destroyed public safety drone when some law enforcement officer makes the wrong call and disables it and it results in damage.

In a perfect world we would be able to fly with Friend or Foe identification but at the time I’m writing this, even a rudimentary Uniform Traffic Management (UTM) system does not exist in the wild.

It could be that maybe my angst over this is unfounded but then again I was pulled over by police and blue lights in the next town the other night as I was responding with red lights to a missing person call. The officer said he was not aware the fire department had an aviation unit and thought it was a hoax.

So what do you think a law enforcement agency might do with a fire department drone in the air?

The technology already exists to take over or bring down drones.

What do you think?

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