Earlier this week, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell stirred up the libertarian wing of the Republican party with this pronouncement:
WASHINGTON – Police drones flying over Virginia would be “great” and “the right thing to do” for the same reasons they are so effective in a battlefield environment, the state’s chief executive said Tuesday….
McDonnell, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, says he is open to any technology that makes law enforcement more productive.
Which raises an obvious question: Which law enforcement agency in Georgia will be the first to pursue drone technology, and what will it be used for?
Like McDonnell, Gov. Nathan Deal apparently has no qualms.
Late last year, the Georgia State Patrol applied to a private company, AV Aerovironment, to become part of a research and development project that involved a small drone helicopter for use by tactical weapons teams, GSP spokesman Gordy Wright confirmed.
In this case, the drone — called the Qube — was about the size of a sheet of paper with four propellers, and would have been used to for aerial surveillance in SWAT situations,” Wright said. “It saves having to bring in a big Huey.” Have a look:
Investigation of interstate traffic accidents might have been another use, Wright said. But the company rejected the application, and for now, ground-hugging robots will have to peek for gunmen hiding behind metro Atlanta dumpsters.
Georgia Tech already has FAA authorization to operate drones for research purposes in Menlo, Ga., near the Alabama border.
But the Georgia Tech police department and its office of economic preparedness recently submitted an additional FAA application for permission to use a drone aircraft. “That request was intended to help monitor football traffic,” said Tech spokesman Matthew Nagel. “It was denied.”
When it comes to drones, Saturday football traffic can be much different than Monday commuter traffic.
So there’s no doubt. The will is there. It’s just a matter of time and money before something mechanical and unmanned is buzzing over your head.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider