For decades, in dystopian fictions, readers and watchers alike are very familiar with the idea of state-run drones spying on the entrapped population. Luckily, however, the scenes of drones chasing down or spying on those who dare dissent against authority have been restricted to fantasy — until now.
When Texas resident Bobbie Sanchez walked out in her backyard last week, the last thing she thought she’d see was a drone — hovering — watching her kids.
“Mommy there’s a drone over our roof,” said her children.
According to Sanchez, the drone hovered there long enough for her to take multiple photos and to call the police for help.
However, when Sanchez called the Hurst police department to inform them a drone was spying on her children, the Hurst police department said it was them.
“They’re watching my children play in the backyard,” said Sanchez. “I called the Hurst Police Department and was pretty surprised to hear that it was them.”
According to NBC DFW, Hurst police and fire started using drones earlier this year. They said the day they were over Sanchez’s yard was a training exercise.
The department claimed that the day they were over Sanchez’s yard, they were conducting ‘a training exercise.’
Training, in the land of the free, now involves police officers stripping citizens of their privacy and creepily watching their kids.
After being caught spying on children, the department now promises that they will tighten down on when and where the drones will be deployed.
“We will not be doing any type of training exercises over houses and things like that,” said Hurst Police Assistant Chief Steve Niekamp.
According to Niekamp, the department’s drones will now only launch of crime scenes, accident scenes, to find a suspect, an active shooter, or a missing person. The fire department may also use them to strategize on fighting fires.
“We’re working for our citizens, if they have concerns then we definitely need to address it,” said Niekamp in an obvious understatement.
When Sanchez’ neighbors got news of the drone they were outraged, naturally.
“It might be legal but it’s still creepy to think that police can be saying that they’re training or looking for a criminal and still be looking at you in your backyard,” said neighbor Casey Byrnes.
Others told NBC DFW that they feel betrayed and that their trust in police is damaged.
In a truly liberty-loving tone, Sanchez stated, “I am not a person who will give up privacy for safety.”
The use of drones in policing is a slippery slope. While fears of active shooters and missing children will be used to justify them, if history is any indicator, these drones will ultimately be used to further deteriorate what little semblance of privacy left in America.
As the Free Thought Project reported last week, Connecticut may be the first state in the country to allow police officers to put deadly weapons on drones. Some states have discussed equipping drones with tasers but this is the first proposal to arm them with deadly weapons. What could possibly go wrong?
The good news is, in a recent ruling, a Kentucky man has prevailed in a lawsuit he faced over shooting down a drone that entered his property.
William Meredith became known as the “drone slayer” in 2015, after he used a shotgun to dismantle a drone operated by David Boggs, that he says was flying over his property in front of himself and his daughter. Meredith initially faced felony charges of endangerment and criminal mischief for shooting down the drone. The criminal charges were dismissed by Judge Rebecca Ward in Bullitt County District Court, citing recollections from witnesses who said that the drone was flying under the tree line. Ward also said that Meredith was within his rights to shoot down the drone.
According to Meredith, that drone, like the police drone in Hurst — was also watching his children.
However, we shouldn’t rely on this case to hold up against the blue privilege associated with shooting down ‘official police property’ — even if it is watching your kids in your own backyard.