Trying to blunt police opposition, the sponsor of a bill to ban unmanned drone aircraft use by law enforcement in Florida has agreed to exceptions for use with a search warrant or in certain "exigent" circumstances, such as when it might be needed to find a child in danger.
The measure (SB 92) was approved unanimously Tuesday by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee with the new exceptions in it.
While representatives of the Florida Sheriff's Association and the Florida Police Chiefs Association said they were pleased the sponsor, Sen. Joe Negron, was trying to ease some concerns police have about the possible loss of drones as a law enforcement tool, they stopped short of supporting the bill. The measure already had an exception for uses needed for national security.
Drones are currently in use by about a half dozen Florida law enforcement agencies, according to Negron, R-Stuart, who said the bill is his top priority this year.
"There's always a delicate balance between freedom and security," Negron said. And the line has to be drawn somewhere on how far police can go in watching people.
The amendments added to the bill acknowledge that there may be extraordinary circumstances when unmanned aerial cameras might be acceptable, Negron said after the committee.
"My goal is that it's not a routine practice," Negron said...
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Via Billy Corben