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Video posted online by a Connecticut teen of a drone firing a handgun has prompted renewed calls for regulations of drones from the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut.  A bill banning the weaponization of drones by law enforcement and the public was approved by the state Senate this session, but action was not taken on the bill in the House before their June adjournment.

 

A bill under consideration also would have required state and municipal police to obtain a warrant before operating the unmanned aerial vehicles in criminal investigations.  Redding Representative John Shaban says training activities and certain emergencies would have been exempt.  Shaban expressed concern with the bill interfering with federal regulations, but ultimately voted in favor of it at the committee level.

 

New Fairfield State Representative Richard Smith was concerned with these devices being used for the wrong purposes, eroding privacy rights.  Smith says he understands that reasonable suspicion has been clearly defined by the courts, but was concerned that it wasn't defined in the bill. 

 

Southbury state Representative Arthur O'Neill says use of drones by other state agencies was not addressed in the bill.  He was concerned that the Department of Environmental Protection park rangers, the Department of Motor Vehicles enforcement arm or others could register flights with the state.  The data would have been posted on the Office of Policy and Management website so it's available to the public, and O'Neill was concerned with privacy violations.

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Todd Schnitt
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