Spotsy Sheriff Department to Begin Using Drones
On February 27th, the Board of Supervisors voted as part of their Consent Agenda to support the Sheriff’s intent to begin using drones in the County.
The drones were purchased will federal grant money, but presumably training and maintenance will need to be covered by the County and partnering localities.
The grant application was submitted last summer, after receiving Board approval on May 23, 2017. The application details can be found here.
The City of Fredericksburg Police Department and Stafford Sheriff’s Office already have a drone program.
Procedures will need to be developed by the Sheriff’s Office, but Virginia Code covers some privacy concerns. See below.
The Code of Virginia §19.2-60.1 stipulates that use of a UAS by a local government agency is limited to those circumstances in which a search warrant or an administrative or inspection warrant has been issued pursuant to law. A UAS may be deployed without a warrant in the following circumstances:
- Amber Alert (an emergency response system for a missing person (usually a child),
- Senior Alert (an emergency response system for a missing senior citizen),
- Blue Alert (an emergency response system to speed the apprehension of criminals who kill or seriously injure local, state, or federal law enforcement officers).,
- Where use of an UAS is determined to be necessary to alleviate an immediate danger to any person such as search and rescue,
- Training exercises related to law enforcement uses, or
- If a person with legal authority consents to a warrantless search.
Click here to read more from Scott Shenk’s Free Lance-Star article.