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Police May Need Warrants For Drones

A Wyoming legislative committee has voted to support a bill that would require law enforcement to get warrants to use drones to gather evidence in criminal cases. The Wyoming Liberty Group and Wyoming ACLU are both strong supporters of the bill. ACLU Director Linda Burt said restrictions are appropriate.

“These can be very intrusive means of searches with drones, they can be very small, and they can go into your homes without your knowledge, so we think it’s very important that there should be a warrant for any searches with drones.”

The committee did vote down an amendment to prohibit weapons on drones. Senator Bruce Burns of Sheridan says there are occasions where armed drones could save lives.

“But I’m also picturing specific circumstances where let’s say you have a hostage situation and a drone is the only place where you could get a clear shot at the hostage taker and I think that would be a very beneficial use of the drone itself.”

Senator Larry Hicks of Baggs said it could also be helpful in the event of a school shooting and he doesn’t want to tie the hands of law enforcement. The full legislature will consider the bill when it means in January. 

Bob Beck retired from Wyoming Public Media after serving as News Director of Wyoming Public Radio for 34 years. During his time as News Director WPR has won over 100 national, regional and state news awards.

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