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No Drone Zone: Part III

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - From patrolling on the ground, to eventually patrolling by way of air, police are tossing around the option, of turning of having a model plane with a camera attached, what's now known as a drone, help them out during emergencies.  


Monroe officers have their sights set on the unmanned aircrafts. Sgt. Mark Johnson is all for it.

"Big debate in law enforcement circles. They cost a lot of money. They are very effective," Johnson said. 

Richard Hanson with the Academy of Model Aeronautics agrees with police.

"Law enforcement would use those to surveil what they would view as a suspect to look for criminal activity," Hanson. 

Concerns are hovering over law enforcement's idea to use drones. Homeowners across the nation feel their rights may be violated. The Constitution protects Americans from unreasonable search and seizures and that's why cities like Monroe, are not coughing up taxpayer dollars to invest in drones just yet.

"The helicopters and the aerial units have been around for years and you still hear people complaining about that. They still think those are invasions of privacy," Johnson said. 

Legislation geared toward drones are on the rise. Lawmakers in Florida have recently passed a measure, without a debate, limiting law enforcement's use of drones. In the Sunshine State, agencies can only fly to prevent an imminent danger to life, kidnapping, or serious damage to property.

"If it ever comes up to us as an opportunity as something we can deploy here," Johnson said. "I certainly think we would be like everybody else, we would see what we would be able to do."

But as of now, Drones remain out of the control of law enforcement and remains in the hands of model plane enthusiasts.
     
"We have many father and son teams that come out and they love to fly," Roger Wilson said. 

Wilson, who's been enjoying this hobby for years, and now serves as the president of the Northeast Air and Radio Control Club is hoping every weekend he'll still be able to control his drone, even if it's only in an AMA controlled airspace near the Ouachita Parish Rifle Range.

"it's a holsum hobby," Wilson said. "It keeps kids off the streets. It gives them something functional to do. You can get as good as you want at it from a talent level."

The debate over drones continues across the nation. 

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