Disturbing Trend of Police Wanting Drones for Routine Infractions

By Nicholas West

After lulling the public into believing that using drones in the U.S. would be confined to border patrol or for counter-terrorism in the event of an imminent threat, we are beginning to see police calling for far wider implementation of drone surveillance.

I’ve reported several times about the years-long battle in Los Angeles over the use of police drones. The plan resulted in severe pushback from civil liberties groups such as the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and eventually resulted in an agreement to in fact limit their use to extreme threats and never for surveillance.

More recently, Connecticut went much further with a new plan for integrating drones into their fusion center matrix of camera surveillance that would also utilize citizen cooperation into a far-reaching local spy network. Most troubling was the list of “quality-of-life-issues” that included “illegal dumping, ATVs and dirt bikes, motor vehicle violations, narcotics markets, car break-ins and larcenies.” All of which might spark tracking and pursuit by police drone.

In a typical step-by-step movement of the Overton window, it’s Brunswick, Maine that would like to usher in a new level of acceptance of an even greater degree of intrusion.

In a Press Herald article, “Brunswick police could be 1st in U.S. to use drones to spot railroad trespassers,” we read the following:

The project, which is still in its infancy, also would make the Brunswick Police Department the first in Maine to use drones to look for potential criminal activity, rather than at a crime scene or at a crash site.

Of course, “potential criminal activity” is perfectly in line with the trend toward pre-crime detection also taking hold across the country. But what I also found striking was the statement from a spokeswoman for the railroad administration, Desiree French, that “This device will only be used for detection, not enforcement” … as if pervasive spying is not at all a central issue. This is exactly how the Overton window shifts.

Naturally the rationale for thwarting trespassers along the rail line with hovering quadcopters equipped with cameras is safety:

“We can cover a mile in every direction in a fraction of the time (with a drone),” (Brunswick Patrol Commander) Garrepy said. “It’s more of education and detection. So we’re going to detect the violations, and send an officer out to educate them. We’re trying to prevent fatalities before they occur.”

Commander Garrepy also cited the fact that the area of the train tracks is private property, which is somewhat comforting until we read that “Garrepy envisioned his department’s drone project as an extension of an existing partnership with the federal government.”

I’d like to remind readers that up until 2010 it was a conspiracy theory to suggest that drones would be used in the U.S. at all. Until, of course, it came out that there had been a domestic drone program in the works for years. Subsequently, it became understood that the “border” actually extends 100 miles inland through an area that the ACLU dubbed the “Constitution-free Zone.”

Once again, many people said, “OK, but clearly that’s to be used to get terrorists” (or now illegal immigrants). Well, if that’s the case, then the aforementioned police departments have a strange way of defining terrorism and illegal immigration.

It is now clear that an expansion is being planned for the incorporation of local police drone surveillance into everyday life. However, as is the case in Los Angeles and in Connecticut, Brunswick’s drone plans are still being drawn up. There remains a window of opportunity for citizens to contact their local police and express their opposition to the use of drones in routine police work, but that window appears to be closing very quickly.

Hat Tip: MassPrivateI

Nicholas West writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Steemit, and BitChute. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.

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5 Comments on "Disturbing Trend of Police Wanting Drones for Routine Infractions"

  1. allow them. with one allowance. have them broadcast the video they see. it wouldn’t need to be in real time but a five minute delay so it couldn’t be used to warn whoever they are looking at. the broadcasts could be recorded legally and each days unedited recordings must be turned over to the public. any recording produced for a court case could be compared with the police verson and the one delivered to the public record. each time a device is used it would be handed over to a public librarian to file its data then reset for its next use. when needed would be issued from the library just as we would a book. the library defends the public interest and the officers have another tool to use as law enforcement. thedevice would carry a seal and if broken would start an internal investagation. thus providing protection from any abuse of power. the transmission would have a multitude of people who would also monator the device output.

  2. So exactly how many deaths, accidents or delays has there been on this railway line in the last 10 years?
    This is not Mena Arizona.
    It is for your safety!
    “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
    Patrick Henry
    “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” — Thomas Jefferson
    Upon it is written these words by Winston Churchill, a man who knew much about fighting tyranny:
    “Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”
    “You called them ‘traitors’ and ‘subversives,’ when they cried out to you that the walls of your nation were tumbling into the seas of tyranny and death. When they warned you on the day religion was turned against religion, and race against race, in America, you laughed at them and denounced them as ‘dividers of the country.’ When they cried to you that States Rights were being abrogated, you shouted ‘Unity!’ at them, and beat them down, and silenced them. When they exposed the causes of wars to you, and the plot against you in those wars, you jeered at them with such epithets as ‘isolationists’ or ‘pacifists.’ While you still had a measure of liberty and could vote vile tyrants and corrupt men out of office, you listened, instead, to the promises of those men, and you voted honourable and decent men out of office.” — Taylor Caldwell, “The Devil’s Advocate

  3. Abolish police and problem solved.

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