Magazine article National Defense

FAA Allows Texas Law Enforcement to Use Aerial Drone

Magazine article National Defense

FAA Allows Texas Law Enforcement to Use Aerial Drone

Article excerpt

Police agencies have been clamoring for the right to use unmanned aerial vehicles in domestic airspace, and manufacturers are waiting for the day when they become a common sight in the skies.

But the Federal Aviation Administration has been notoriously tight in issuing licenses to law enforcement agencies that want to use unmanned aerial vehicles for overhead surveillance. The agency cites safety concerns as its main reason.

But the agency can allow for such flights in extreme cases, as the Texas Rangers did in operations against the Yearning for Zion Ranch in May.

After allegations surfaced that children were being abused at the sect's compound in Eldorado, Texas, the Rangers went to the FAA shortly before the raid and filed for a "temporary flight restriction" in the area surrounding the compound. This order allowed the Rangers to fly a drone overhead to collect intelligence, according to Paul Ramirez of Mission Technologies Inc. …

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