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Area legsialtor questions drone use bill for law enforcement

A legislative committee is considering a bill on the use of drones by law enforcement.  A public hearing Wednesday drew mixed reviews.  Committee member New Fairfield State Representative Richard Smith says he understands that reasonable suspicion has been clearly defined by the courts, but is concerned that it's not defined in the bill.

 

He says sometimes reasonable suspicion comes after the fact, from information gained during an investigation.  Smith says he's concerned with these devices being used for the wrong purposes and eroding privacy rights.

 

Smith says today's technology makes you ask "how far do we go?" because the privacy laws developed in the 60s, 70s, and 80s are outdated.

 

The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association expressed concerns with only be allowed to operate the unmanned aerial vehicle for a total of 24 hours within a 30 day period under reasonable suspicion.  They requested 30 hours in 30 days.  The group also opposed destroying the information within a 48 hour period.  They instead want the 48 hours to start after 30 days is up so the material could be reviewed.

 

The American Civil Liberties Union called on the committee to amend the bill to require police to obtain a search warrant before using a drone for surveillance purposes, except in emergency situations.

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Todd Schnitt

Local Headlines