Public invited to share thoughts on police drone
Celeste Edenloff writes for EchoPress:
A new law regarding the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, known as drones, by law enforcement officers is set to take effect Aug. 1.
The new statute, according to Sgt. Greg Windhurst with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, provides detailed guidance on law enforcement agencies use of drones, including agency policy requirements, search warrant requirements, safeguards that define the public's right to privacy in specific situations and subject notification. It also defines how the recordings from the drones would be retained.
Windshurst said that to remain in compliance with the new State Statute, 626.19, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office is required to have a copy of the written policy posted and it must provide an opportunity for public comment.
The sheriff's office has a draft of its policy posted to its website, co.douglas.mn.us/law-enforcement and in the lobby of the sheriff's office. And there are several ways people in the community can provide feedback to the sheriff's office, including a public comment period during the Douglas County Board of Commissioners meeting set for Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 9 a.m. The sheriff's office has also created a survey, which is available on the sheriff's website.
“The drones are an essential tool that help in a variety of incidents,” said Windhurst. “They are not toys. We are not using them to spy on people. We are not looking in people's backyards. We are using them only to aid and assist when it is necessary.”
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