Introducing new technologies into law enforcement can sometimes yield beneficial results. Keeping officers safe is a priority; while newly introduced body cameras can help make sure that our rights are protected as well. But then you get something like North Dakota House Bill 1328 that brings with it some scary new elements to law enforcement. The butchered and heavily amended bill grants legal permissions to the police force in North Dakota to weaponize drones with any weapon described as: “less than lethal.” That means police drones can fire tasers, rubber bullets, bean bags, and gas canisters from the sky, remotely.
The outrageous thing is that the bill, originally drafted by Representative Rick Becker, specifically banned all weapons from being mounted on the drones. In fact, the initial goal of the bill was to require police to obtain a warrant in order to use drones to collect evidence. However, along the way, the bill was altered by Bruce Burkett of the North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association – a law enforcement lobbyist that just happens to be closely associated with the drone industry. Burkett amended HB 1328 to only prohibit lethal weapons from being equipped on police drones.
“This is one I’m not in full agreement with. I wish it was any weapon. In my opinion there should be a nice, red line: Drones should not be weaponized. Period.” -Rick Becker
It is essential to mention that even the so labeled non-lethal weapons have resulted in deaths or severe injuries. Tasers, for example, have claimed at least 39 lives in 2015. Others, such as gas canisters and rubber bullets have left victims severely wounded and mutilated. This is all even more unsettling when you consider that certain police officials don’t even think that warrants should be necessary to use drones for spying on citizens. Officials like Grand Forks County Sheriff Bob Rost; who seemingly subscribes to the belief: “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” When you have such high ranking officials with no regard for due process being given armed drones by special interest groups and representatives, alarms should be going off in everyone’s heads.
Do you think police should have access to weaponized drones? Let us know in the comments or any of our social media accounts.Source: The Daily Beast