Archive for Tuesday, May 28, 2013

City hears pitch for policy limiting use of drones by police department

May 28, 2013


City commissioners were urged to make Lawrence one of the few cities in the country adopting a policy limiting the use of drones by police departments and other city agencies.

Commissioners at their weekly meeting made no promises that they would bring such an ordinance up for debate, but said they thought it was unlikely the city would be purchasing drones anytime in the foreseeable future.

“I can bet when we consider the budget this summer, there will be no money for drones in it,” City Commissioner Mike Amyx.

Lawrence resident Ben Jones spoke on behalf of a group of about 12 residents who said they are concerned about the possible civil liberty violations that could occur if police departments start using the drones for surveillance. The group also is concerned that police drones in the future may start carrying weapons that could be used to control crowds and respond to other threats.

Several states and at least one other city — Charlottesville, Va. — have created policies limiting how municipalities can use drones.

Mayor Mike Dever said he wanted to learn more about the issue before deciding on whether such a policy should be proposed for Lawrence.


bearded_gnome 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I should only worry about these if I have something to hide???

oh really. I should so easily surrender my right to privacy of my person and my papers?

"we're from the government, and we're here to help you!" lol


bearded_gnome 10 months, 3 weeks ago

nothing to hide from a totally benevolent government, eh?

ever heard of the current IRS scandal? demanding the content of groups' prayers, for example. yes, give people like these drone powers. yeah, right.

again, note that there's much more than cameras they're stickin' on them UAV's now.

and far more than police departmens you should worry about with them!


Patricia Davis 10 months, 3 weeks ago

OMG what Ron Olin would have done to have drone power!


pti3 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you to the ACLU and the concerned citizens who spoke out against drone use in our city.

The Program - William Binney Interview


Armored_One 10 months, 3 weeks ago

147 sworn officers on the Lawrence police department roster.

Somewhere between 80 and 90 thousand residents, plus another 15 to 25 thousand college students.

Why are they more worried about the 147 compared to the larger number? Are Amendment rights unable to be violated by citizens that are not in law enforcement? Is the right to privacy not as important if it's your neighbor peeping in the second story window with a remote helicopter than if it were a police officer?

I just adore how Lawrence cops are such horrendous people, violating all sorts of rights and laws. My family has lived here for over 100 years, all told. Never heard about, or read about, any of them being repressed by the police here.

Assume that one percent of the population of Lawrence was ready, willing and capable of violating the same Amendments as the police are feared of breaking. That is still 800-900 people, or roughly about 5 times as many police officers as Lawrence employs, according to the police website.


jack22 10 months, 3 weeks ago

It's good to know the police and government are going to have new and better ways to spy on us. It's not enough that the government and American corporations collect our email, web searches, credit card purchases, etc. And I like that line of thinking that if you're not doing anything illegal you don't have anything to worry about. I'll bet that was the same line more or less used by dictators like Stalin back in the day. Bring on the police state. It can't happen here, right?


Steven Gaudreau 10 months, 3 weeks ago

If drones are good enough for Obama, its gotta be good enough for Lawrence Liberals. Saying no to drones is the same as disagreeing with Obama and we all know that is unheard of in Lawrence.


BaneMaler 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Just to highlight a few points from the meeting:

-This project is supported by many community groups in Lawrence like the ACLU, as well as the Republican, Democrats, and Libertarian parties. 4th Amendment protections are NOT a partisan issue.

-Dever suggested that like the grant given for an armored vehicle for the police, similar federal grants will likely be made available for drones

-Drone tech is being researched and developed in very few places in the country but the pilots of tomorrow are being educated and trained at KSU.

-Several Wichita aerospace lobbies are currently producing drone tech here in Kansas and will be looking for domestic buyers as the prices go down.

-Drones can be more cost effective than police considering payroll, retirement, and other benefits police currently enjoy.

The reality of their use is not just limited to law enforcement, they have also been considered for search and rescue, weather information, and land surveying. The point is to prevent abuse and protect individual rights by getting ahead of the issue. Learn more:


Zanti_Misfit 10 months, 3 weeks ago

To save money, will the drones replace police ?


Liberty275 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Why does Lawrence need a drone?


skull 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Good thing the state government already dealt with this issue instead of passing a budget.


jayhawklawrence 10 months, 3 weeks ago

This is one of those really dumb issues that get put on the front burner because of a worthless politician looking for an issue to exploit while the actual responsibility of governing always gets screwed up.

I wish we would not waste our time on this.


tomatogrower 10 months, 3 weeks ago

“I can bet when we consider the budget this summer, there will be no money for drones in it,” City Commissioner Mike Amyx.

They probably don't even have enough money for a much needed building. It's really a non issue that a paranoid group is bringing up, even though it hasn't been considered.


patkindle 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I suspect the only folks that should be afraid of drones are those who perform illegal acts, and those who don't wear tin foil hats


Matthew Herbert 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Let me see if I can sum up the city commission this term so far: Handing out a no-bid infrastructure contract to a contractor with a sketchy history, Re-writing city code to Mandate tornado shelters in every building in Lawrence because 1 person has died here in 100 years, passing a city law flying directly in the face of a state law that will clearly end up in litigation that we will lose and now spending time worrying about Douglas County drone strikes. Have I forgotten something? This comedy is only in act 1!


Lynn731 10 months, 3 weeks ago

How totally ridiculous. A drone with a camera is no different than police helicopters used in large cities, and previously in Topeka. I do not think it likely that drones with weapons will ever be in the skies over Douglas County, unless a second revolutionary war, or a second civil war erupts. I would be concerned more about that than I would armed drones.


somebodynew 10 months, 3 weeks ago

And if you think the Police are the ONLY group you need to "worry" about having/using drones then you are really not paying attention. I would rather see an ordinance making it so LEOs are the only ones who could use them.

Just think what Chad would see with the LJW's drone ?? (shudder)


mikekt 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes. We should only hire the blind to be the police because a cop with eyes might see something and bust a drug dealer working a skate park, a burglar working in the day light or be able to see and arrest an armed or violet criminal......... and who wants that ?!


And a right to their privacy in public places where they ply their trades !

We should give night vision goggles to burglars to level the playing field and prevent a miscarriage of justice that drones overhead at night would imply !

Yea, ........I lived thru 1984 and there were lots of "disco people" who should have been arrested on unspecified charges and held without bail !


TocquevillesGhost 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Drones pose serious privacy concerns, so I'm glad to see the Commission considering this issue. They need to follow through and pass a resolution. If we're not careful in protecting civil liberties by placing restrictions on new technology, it will be 1984 before we know it.


bearded_gnome 10 months, 3 weeks ago

more than just cameras on the UAV's.

and doesn't take only purchases to get them into Lawrence skies.

further, understand that they're already in personal use by individuals.

technology marches on.


Kathleen Ammel 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The article fails to mention that Mayor Dever admitted that while it was a sure thing that money would not be in the budget to purchase drones this summer, sometimes federal funds are available to make special purchases, such as the armored tactical vehicle recently purchased by the city.


Liberal 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Legalizing Marijuana is not a liberal issue.


eljakeo 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I am picturing an ultra-liberal's worst nightmare: Lawrence PD drones firing GMO soybeans into a marijuana legalization protest. I can see why they're worried!


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