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Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

City to craft statement saying it doesn’t have plans to use drones

September 24, 2013

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Lawrence city commissioners aren't ready to create a policy for drone use in the city limits, but they did commit to compromise with a growing group of residents concerned about the new technology.

More than 20 people wearing stickers that read "Protect Privacy Liberty" showed up during the public comment section of the commission's weekly meeting urging the city to adopt a policy limiting the city's ability to add drones to its vehicle fleet or police department.

Commissioners said the turnout was remarkable, given that the city doesn't have any plans to buy or use drones in the future.

"I guess this just shows how active people are in the community when there is even a chance people's civil liberties would be infringed," Mayor Mike Dever said.

But commissioners balked at the idea of adopting a proposed resolution that would have placed a moratorium on city drone purchases until the state comes up with statewide regulations for the devices. Instead, commissioners said they would be willing to craft a simple statement that said the city has no intention of using drones for the foreseeable future, and that if the city does pursue owning a drone that it would develop a formal policy before using it.

Members of the group Kansans for Responsible Drone Use said they were pleased commissioners were willing to at least put some safeguards in place.

"I think it is a definite step forward," said Patrick Wilbur, vice chair of the Douglas County Libertarian Party and a member of Kansans for Responsible Drone Use. "What we really wanted to do was create a public dialogue about the issue."

The coalition has a broad base of membership. Just recently the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri joined the coalition voicing concern about drone usage. The Douglas County Republican Party also has joined the group.

"They have great potential to violate civil rights and the Constitution," said Kathleen Ammel, secretary of the Douglas County Republican Party. Plus, she said the drones could create other problems such as noise pollution, visual pollution and the possibility of the devices crashing into crowds.

City commissioners acknowledged drone usage in the city could create some problems, but they said they didn't want to try to write a policy on how city government should use drones until such time that the city actually is seriously considering using drones.

"If we owned a drone or we were going to buy a drone, we would need a drone policy," City Commissioner Bob Schumm said. "But we don't own one and we don't have any interest in having one. I just think this is all very premature."

City commissioners said they didn't know when, if ever, the city would be looking to add a drone to its fleet of vehicles. While they said they couldn't ever imagine owning a weaponized drone, they didn't rule out that practical uses would develop for them. Cities have mentioned drones potentially being useful for everything from reading water meters to surveying dangerous structure fires.

Only a handful of cities have adopted drone use policies, with Charlotesville, Va., the most prominent example. Members of the Kansans for Responsible Drone Use began asking commissioners to consider a policy in May.

"I have just had a bit of a problem spending valuable time on this when we we know there are other issues that are impacting us more now," Dever said.

But Dever said he would be fine with signing a simple statement that the city would adopt a policy before using drones. Commissioners directed City Commissioner Mike Amyx to sit down with key members of the group within the next couple of weeks to draft a statement that could be brought back to the commission for consideration.

Comments

patkindle 10 months, 1 week ago

I suppose we should remain to keep our tin foil hats in place?

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 10 months, 1 week ago

Great naational headline!! "City government in bucholic Kansas community responds to raging and illogical paranoia" Way to go, just when I thought that this berg's "government" could not fabricate any more silly and inconsequential foolishness, this issue surfaces!!. ' Way to go, I am so PROUD of our elected clueless commission!

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Richard Heckler 10 months, 1 week ago

Apparently the NSA and the CIA perhaps the FBI can decide to use them to spy on USA citizens. With or without a court order. So while this is a start in the future it would be nice if city officials would ban Lawrence,Kansas airspace.

Drones kill enough innocent people the accuracy of information coming from a spy drone should be questioned. Accuracy fed to a drone from human sources should also be questioned.

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cowboy 10 months, 1 week ago

I don't know if I trust the city. If there aren't going to be drones why did they put in all those drone landing pads , those median thingies in the middle of roads , not to mention the black helicopter pads , those round thingies in the intersections.

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mccabetherealtor 10 months, 1 week ago

I'm also hoping for a city policy statement that prohibits the building of a Death Star and/or a clone army. If you agree, please join our group for a snipe hunt near the Stull church this evening.

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tomatogrower 10 months, 1 week ago

Near the gateway to hell? Noooooooooo

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Dan Rose 10 months, 1 week ago

Now THAT'S funny - just what I needed today! lol

FYI

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Dave McClain 10 months, 1 week ago

I attended a recent concert at the Starlight Theater in Kansas City and the drone hanging over the crowd behind us was a constant attention grabber for many of the concert goers. Not sure who's drone was being used, or why but it certainly created it's own crowd disdain. The watchful eye in the sky is definitely a privacy issue, even in a public place. Especially with no defined purpose or ownership to those being watched!

I have nothing to hide, and am a law abiding citizen, but even I felt almost violated that someone else felt we needed to be watched.

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Dan Rose 10 months, 1 week ago

It's for collecting concert and crowd footage for potential documentaries, music videos, or sometimes can be bluetoothed to the screens at the front of the stage to add a "concert-goer's POV". This video from the Vans Warped Tour this summer shows how [dizzying] it can be used to compliment videos, etc. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDImuz... ;-)

FYI

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tomatogrower 10 months, 1 week ago

Next time dmcclain can just wear his aluminum fedora. Actually that would be great footage in a music video.

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Joe Blackford II 10 months, 1 week ago

You have to live upriver to get a proper perspective of the current state of helicopter hovering:

Every time KSU promotes the NBAF point of view with a Landon lecture, we get a close-order-drill from a fleet of Ft. Riley helicopters over our neighborhood (1 mile N. of Bramlage Coliseum ). This hovering goes on for at least a couple of hours.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, October 1, 2012

Adm. Michael G. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, March 3, 2010

Dennis C. Blair, Director of National Intelligence, February 22, 2010

Gen. David Petraeus, Commander of the U.S. Central Command April 27, 2009

Gen. Michael Hayden, Director of Central Intelligence Agency, April 30, 2008

Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense, November 26, 2007

Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, November 9, 2006

Sen. Sam Brownback, U.S. Senator, Kansas, February 22, 2006

President Bush, U.S. President, January 23, 2006

Lee Hamilton, Vice Chair of the National Commission on Terrorist (sic), March 29, 2005

Sen. Pat Roberts, U.S. Senator, Kansas, The Adequacy and Quality of Our Intelligence Prior to the Iraq War, May 3, 2004

Robert Mueller, Director of the FBI, "The FBI: Changing to Meet Today's Challenges" April 13, 2004

Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "Why We Serve" April 26, 2000*

*Col (Ret) Jerry Jaax, USAMRIID, became KSU University Veterinarian in 2000, with the start of the need for a NBAF in KS propaganda campaign.

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Joe Blackford II 10 months, 1 week ago

We've lived in this neighborhood since 1998. At that time, hovering helicopters were never a prelude to a Landon lecture.

http://ome.ksu.edu/lectures/landon/past.html

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hipper_than_hip 10 months, 1 week ago

How about creating a policy on the use of the new armored vehicle and the SWAT team?

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patkindle 10 months, 1 week ago

so it is safe to sit in your backyard and smoke a joint without getting caught? I assume this is really what all the fuss is about

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Greg Cooper 10 months, 1 week ago

In other news, the city has announced that it is not planning a policy on reception of alien beings which might or might not appear sometime sooner or later. This news was met with raving silence by the masses, who werre hiding from the drones which the city did not also have a policy about. (They might, however, create a policy banning incorrect useage of English, a prime example of which is contained in the previous sentence.)

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patkindle 10 months, 1 week ago

I am sure they will post signs in the front of city hall to explain the new ordinances

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Noweigh 10 months, 1 week ago

It must be working already...I just saw three drones headed for town. They stopped at the city limits, turned around a flew away.
What an absolute waste of time. Too bad the city felt the need to placate the loon bin.

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Stuart Evans 10 months, 1 week ago

Is it really paranoia when the government is using unmanned drones all around the world to spy on and kill people? It used to be a conspiracy that the government could see and hear everything you did, but now we find out it's completely true. Why do you people trust politicians so much with your right to be left alone?

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thebigspoon 10 months, 1 week ago

I think I saw a flock of them headed South for the winter ???

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riverdrifter 10 months, 1 week ago

Poachers are already suspected of having used mini-drones to locate trophy deer in OK and TX and using them to illegally take them. Also, rustlers are suspected of using them to quickly locate cattle in large pastures, thus speeding up the theft of them immeasurably. Most drones have a battery life of 12-15 minutes with payload (camera). When technology gets this up to 30 minutes or more, look out. Drones will be an on-going controversy for years to come.

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nwtransplant 10 months, 1 week ago

I swear that some people have too much time on their hands! What a waste of time!

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Liberty275 10 months, 1 week ago

This is nice. Thanks Lawrence.

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Seth Peterson 10 months, 1 week ago

If they don't put limits on their restrictions are they basically outlawing model airplanes too?

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