Arlington Police Bought Two Drones, Which They Hope to Start Using Very Soon

Categories: Crime, Technology

Leptron helicopter drone.jpg
Image via Leptron
Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration released a list of all the city and state entities who have applied for a license to fly unmanned aerial drones. That list was released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF), an organization that champions "digital rights" and free speech. Topping the list of drone applicants: the Arlington Police Department.

As WFAA recently reported, the Arlington PD actually already has two small, remote-controlled helicopters, which they purchased last year for $202,259 from Leptron Industrial Robotic Technologies. According to the news station, grant money from Homeland Security paid for the drones.

Now, it looks like they're hoping to actually be able to fly them. The EFF and other civil liberties organizations are not happy.

"Although drones can be used for neutral, or even for positive purposes, drones are also capable of highly advanced and, in some cases, almost constant surveillance, and they can amass large amounts of data," the EFF wrote in a press release announcing the newly released applicant list. "Even the smallest drones can carry a host of surveillance equipment, from video cameras and thermal imaging to GPS tracking and cellphone eavesdropping tools. They can also be equipped with advanced forms of radar detection, license plate cameras, and facial recognition."

Privacy concerns and a sense of unease at the prospect of being watched from above seem to unite people across the political divide. In Texas' first anti-drone bill, Representative Lance Gooden, a Republican from Terrell, recently filed a piece of legislation that would make it a crime to use a drone to photograph private property without consent .

The Arlington Police top a list of 81 other public entities who applied for drone licenses through October of last year. There are a number of applicants from Texas, including the Houston Police Department, the Hays County Emergency Service Office, Texas State University and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Texas A&M applied for two: one for their Corpus Christi campus, and one for the school's Texas Engineering Experiment Station.

Nationally, the list includes several universities and even community colleges, as well as the State Department, the FBI, Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection Division, NASA, NOAA, the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Air Force.

Congratulations. Everyone could soon be watching you all the time. Even in Arlington.


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36 comments
halldecker
halldecker

The S Ct says police can act on anything "in plain sight."   It's liberal in adding to that other 'things.'  That includes fields full of pot.  

I'd like to think this is so obtrusive that even a majority of the Supremes couldn't sign off on it.  Don't bet the farm.

Other thing,  the drones require somebody back in the cop shop controlling them.  When they crash in the desert,  nobody files a lawsuit.   When they collide with something else up there,  or play V2 in London,  glide in and blow up a house or two of unsuspecting locals,  it's not gonna be easy to hide.

OU wants some?  Hays County?  The college in San Marcos?   You'd hope somebody with a lick of common sense will tell them to take their meds and forget it.




WHODRONESTHEDRONES
WHODRONESTHEDRONES

Tactically, this is stupid. Domestic drones are only going to aggravate the crazies who think big brother is spying on them and wants to take away their guns. Which, in turn, will necessitate the need for more drones/security measures to protect us from the crazies. 

Oh, and what happens when somebody like Russia or China hacks one of these domestic drones? 

Paula Cline
Paula Cline

Funny as I just saw a news story about how bad their roads are in Arlington...your tax dollars at work!

Rick Joya
Rick Joya

drones to mointor traffic? that'll be cool. just beam a signal into our cars.

LDR4
LDR4

Ah, Arlington. Where drones fly free but damned if you can find any public transportation.

Russ Coffman
Russ Coffman

Criminals beware! Great deterrent. Criminals now or wannabes will oppose this the most.

cantkeepthetruthdown
cantkeepthetruthdown

Too bad liberals already allowed the 4th Amendment to be "shredded."

It's too late to put the demon back in the bottle. 

Jordan Sandifer
Jordan Sandifer

How could an RC helicopter x 2 cost $200k. I'd like to see an Itemized bill.

Kristin Scott Dorsey
Kristin Scott Dorsey

I thought I saw a drone up in the sky last week? over 30 going into Grand Prairie.

MoonPie
MoonPie

I see OU is on the list which means they are probably going to be spying on other team's football practices again.

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

Great "blimp-like" views during Rangers games!

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Sure you can do a lot of things with them, but why do you need to do these things?


Basically, I hear a bunch of piggies munching away at the feed trough ....

CraigT42
CraigT42

I hope someone shoots them down

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

but will they deliver tacos?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@cantkeepthetruthdown

yeah, those damn liberals who passed the Patriot Act that "shredded" the 4th amendment! wait, that wasn't the liberals was it, it was the republicans who pushed the Patriot Act thru. oh well

it's those damn liberals who don't fight when the government tries to take away rights! thank you for those conservatives at the ACLU who stand up and fight the erosion of our civil liberties! wait, those are liberals over at the ACLU fighting to protect our civil liberties, not conservatives. oh well.

mcdallas
mcdallas

@Matthew Wibbels it began a long time ago...

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@CraigT42 If the Arlington PD is flying a drone that crosses over into Grand Prairie airspace and an Irving citizen shoots it down with a straw-purchased Fast N Furious firearm, can the citizen really be prosecuted?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@mavdog Why isn't the ACLU fighting to protect the 2nd Amendment rights?  Why not the 1st Amendment rights? (They seem to have rolled over and accepted the 'proper time, place, manner).  By the way, yes The Republicans (not conservatives) passed the Patriot Act, aided by the Democrats (not liberals).  Then the Democrats (again, not liberals) aided by the Republicans (not conservatives) renewed the Patriot act.  Get the point?  calling republicans conservative, and democrats liberal, is erroneous to the point of being stupid.

cantkeepthetruthdown
cantkeepthetruthdown

@mavdog "Privacy" begins  with abortion and ends with gay sex for liberals. Or is it the opposite?

And typical of a "Blame Bush!" libtard.. you've got selective memory.


ONE SENATOR VOTED AGAINST THE PATRIOT ACT IN 2001. 

A whopping 10 voted against it's renewal.


Maybe you could tell us who sponsored the bill? 

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@icowrich @RTGolden1 Despite my esteemed colleague's hasty and ill-thought out reply, there is a valid rebuttal to your comment.  The most recent SC decisions regarding the 2nd Amendment have been very clear.  The 2nd applies to individual ownership of firearms regardless of membership in a militia, National Guard, or standing army.  In case you're not entirely certain how that came wording came about: The FF's knew that the means for popular revolt had to be kept in the hands of the people.  They knew that if you put the arms in the hands of only the government, those arms were going to be used against the people.  They also never intended for the government to have a standing army.  The Federal army was to be called up in time of war, consisting of state and local militias.  Many of those local militias were formed, kitted and initially paid for by a wealthy local citizen (who got to give himself an arbitrary rank, regardless of merit).  The arms (assault weapons if you will, since they were now going to be used to assault the enemy) were by and large, privately owned by the men enlisting in the militia.

icowrich
icowrich

@RTGolden1 I'm pretty sure the ACLU would defend your right to join a well regulated militia, if that right is ever challenged.

icowrich
icowrich

@cantkeepthetruthdown Er, those are all pro-privacy provisions that your cited.  It was Bork who said the right to privacy doesn't exist in the constitution.  I'm not unsympathetic with your point of view, here, but you are citing the wrong things if you want to blame privacy erosion on liberals.

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