Editorial: County should fast-track drone restriction policy

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A DJI Phantom 2 drone controlled by Curt Walton hovers to shoot aerial video above a multi-million-dollar home for sale in the hills above Saratoga, Calif., on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. Drone videographer, Curt Walton, works with a growing number of real estate professionals to create stunning aerial video shots that adds a marketing edge for properties they are selling. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group Archives)

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors can not go as well fast over a coverage limiting drone action while in the airspace previously mentioned county jails.

Give Supervisors Mike Wasserman and Cindy Chavez credit rating for pushing county staff to research regional drone constraints and address the developing risk the new technology poses at correctional amenities.

The one question is, why quit there?

Enough evidence exists to consider banning drones from flying over any spot that attracts important crowds or generates safety worries, including the county fairgrounds or even the county’s 28 parks. It is merely a issue of time until eventually individuals who would do the general public hurt figure out ways to weaponize drones and make use of them to create mayhem. Santa Clara County is ideally located to take a direct position in minimizing the hazard.

The danger of the drone shipping and delivery with the county’s Main Jail in San Jose is remote, considering that the high-rise structure has no open-air obtain. But it really was Wasserman who realized the county’s 62-acre, medium-security Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milipitas poses a authentic worry. Wasserman and Chavez uncovered that at least 1 crashed drone was found out within the Elmwood grounds earlier this 12 months with a package of methamphetamines on board.

Correctional officials around the country are knowledgeable that drones are swiftly becoming the technology of choice to smuggle medications, mobile phones and knives into jails and prisons. In August 2015, Ohio correctional officers had to crack up a melee involving 75 inmates at the Mansfield Correctional Institution following a drone dropped a package made up of tobacco, marijuana and sufficient heroin for a hundred and forty particular person doses.

Jail officers in Michigan, Iowa and New York have also reported drone incidents.

Though the most troubling prison drone tale so far will involve a 2016 Western Maryland scenario. A previous inmate at Eastern Correctional Establishment worked out an elaborate scheme to smuggle medication by drone consistently into Maryland’s biggest correctional facility. The Washington Article reported the inmate, who was ultimately caught, made more than $20,000 from the deliveries. He utilized the money to acquire a much bigger drone that has a basket capable of carrying a package weighing approximately 16 ounces. Correctional officers are specifically alarmed due to the fact Smith and Wesson, Kahr Arms, L.W. Seecamp Co. and Kel-Tec all make light-weight pistols weighing in at lower than 16 ounces.

“I do not feel that we have made ample of a concerted exertion to say wherever it truly is suitable to fly drones and in which it’s inappropriate,” reported Chavez. “We also really need to stage up our counter-intelligence initiatives for spots that are at higher risk for accidents or fatalities.”

The drone industry is expected to put 10,000 drones within the air by 2020. They have the opportunity to get a large choice of beneficial applications for your personal sector and law enforcement organizations. But authorities businesses, together with Santa Clara County, have an obligation to obtain out before the new technology before tragedy strikes.