A freshman North Dakota lawmaker is proposing regulations that would limit the use of unmanned aerial vehicles by police, and he is among several state legislators around the country that are proposing limits on UAV use by law enforcement agencies.
State Rep. Rick Becker, R, says safeguards are needed to ensure police do not abuse the surveillance technologies provided by UAVs. However, it is not clear if Becker has introduced a bill.
Nonetheless, Becker, and lawmakers in California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Missouri, Michigan and Indiana, expressed concern about police use of UAVs after a drone was used to apprehend Rodney Brossant, a North Dakota farmer who failed to show up for a court hearing in August 2011 thereby becoming a fugitive.
Brossant faced terrorizing and theft charges, and he was hiding on his 3,000-acre farm when local police requested the Department of Homeland Security divert a drone that was being used to patrol the border with Canada to fly over the farm. When the UAV found Brossant, he became the first domestic fugitive to be tracked using a drone. Brossant challenged the use of the drone to track him, but a federal court has since upheld the use of UAVs to track fugitives.