I happen to work in the UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) field and am an ex-cop, so I have no qualms whatsoever about the use of UAs, but there’s a lot to not like about this. Beyond the obvious privacy issues discussed in the article (although to my mind, that ship sailed with the advent of police helicopters), there’s this sentence:

“The helicopter cost upwards of $300,000 and was purchased with a grant from the federal government.”

If the fine people of Montgomery Co. TX want their sheriff to have a UAS, fine. Let THEM pay for it. But these government grants are the thing that is fueling the militarization of local law enforcement, militarization that often results in tragedy.

The UA in question, Vanguard’s ShadowHawk, has a top speed of 70 MPH. Not fast enough to keep up with a car chase. So it seems to be primarily a surveillance vehicle. Unless they bought the weaponized version with a grenade launcher or shotgun. I’m OK with remote-control killing in Afghanistan. In Dallas / Ft. Worth, not so much.

And finally, some nit-picking: “This sheriff’s office has better things to do with its time then spy on people”

I doubt very much that Chief Deputy McDaniel supplied this quote in writing, so please, Kris Gutiérrez, learn the difference between “then” and “than”. And tell your editor.

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